Class 15: E-Books

Hey guys, welcome to my first class blog post! It is a bit scatter-brained, but I hope it will all make sense for those who were not in class.

Agenda:

  • Prof. Klimasmith
  • Bibliographies
  • Presentations
  • Patchwork Girl
    • Poster
    • Workshop #5
    • Evals

Professor Klimasmith presentation:

This presentation was directed towards the undergrads in the class. Betsy Klimasmith directs the English masters program at UMB. She handed out 2 sheets, both exploring the masters degree in English. Most people finish this program in 2-4 years, depending on which specific program you wish to pursue. It is very cost neutral degree (according to her, the person trying to sell the program). This may be something the graduates in the class can help explain more in detail. If anyone has questions or need help, 6th floor Wheatley is the place to go! Penelope McDonald. Alex runs licence-sure part of program.

Bibliographies:

E-mail Alex the bibliographies if you have not already, or have handed it to him in class. He may offer suggestions for other sources and make small comments on the sources you have chosen. You may be able to use the BHR as a source, just as long as their is a clear connection to the item you are exhibiting, but more specified sources will be preferred. Darisse asked an important question for the graduates in the class revolving around whether the sources that are being collected are for the exhibition or the final paper. Alex concluded that the sources are for the exhibition, but they me be able to help with the paper itself, depending on the sources used, as the paper is supposed to be a greater connection to the item being exhibited.

Presentation:

Each presentation can last no longer than 10 minutes. It is recommended to create a 5 minute speech on the object you are presenting, with an astute knowledge of the images you are showing and knowledge of the object from the sources you collect. The later 5 minutes will be for answering questions and general discussion of your object. By no later than midnight of next Sunday you are to email your power point presentation to Alex to make the presentations go more smoothly the following day.  If you have your book you can bring it in and do not have to submit a visual presentation if you do not want. (To make file smaller- Right click on file, click on compress).

Patchwork Girl:

We stated off talking about this book with a general discussion of how/if you read Patchwork Girl. Only one person got the actual copy and read it, and one person watched it through Youtube, watching people watch the text, shouts out to Sam and her ghetto copy. Others in the class watched videos of Shelly Jackson explaining the text herself. People who did not access it that way, discussed the various ways the tried to access the text. People used google to look up reviews and explanations of the text because they either couldn’t access the text or did not have it. Someone tried to pirate the book and it effectively shut down his computer multiple times. There was a USB and a CD rom version of it, and apparently the USB was the only one that worked and it only worked on a Mac. I’m not gonna say where I fall on this spectrum but from what I am understanding, I saved some money.

The discussion moved over to Jackson herself and her study of hypertext theory with the use of Story Space. It was considered a very revolutionary platform at its time, but has since been denoted as a very structurally linear platform. What Jackson does besides conceiving this project as a hyper-textual project, is that she uses it to demonstrate how the medium effects how we interpret the information being conveyed. She decided to convey this through the classical story of Frankenstein, and draws similar connections that Mary Shelley draws between the monster and the actual literary works itself. We examined the title page of this story and inferred what “By Mary/Shelley, & Herself” could imply in terms of authorship of this story. A large amount of connections were made to the 1818 edition of Frankenstein, including the “;” and the use of “A Modern Monster”.

In groups we discussed the section of the story titled, “I lay” and its significance. Some one made the suggestion that the monster from the Patchwork Girl was not a physical monster, as it was in Frankenstein, and Alex went into detail on how the gender politics of Frankenstein may be reflected in this passage. The intimacy of the scene was brought into light, as the monster was not painted so intimately in Frankenstein, as there is a physical description of the body temperature of Patchwork Girl’s monster. The “this writing” section of this story is a pretty good representation of Shelly Jackson’s meta analysis of what it means to assemble the various sections of a text in the manner that she does. The internet is a very small moment in the history of the book.

A brief discussion of Poster’s essay:

The heart of the essay happens on page 490, with the quote “I introduce, then, the term analogue author… degrees of otherness in the relation of authors texts,” basically the entire 3rd paragraph.  “The medium is the message” is a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan that pretty much characterizes Poster’s point, while others contested that different types of authors do not exist and that a text is a text irregardless of the medium that the text is being conveyed. This was a very woke discussion.

Workshop #5:

This workshop should help us prepare for our presentations and exhibitions. We started off with a power point presentation of what cataloging is.

The workshop procedure:

  1. Watch PP of cataloging with BHR in mind.
  2. Fill out the cataloging sheet, which can be downloaded online from wiki.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to peers or Alex.
  4. Submit to Alex by next class.

Some sections may be problematic to complete and will not require completion before next class. The workshop can be found on the class wiki.

Hope this helped 🙂

 

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8 thoughts on “Class 15: E-Books

  1. John: You may be one of the fastest bloggers of the class . . . I would need to double-check the timing. This is a useful post, particularly for those who missed the details about the presentations next week. As for our discussions, I would be interested in continuing the debates (which I had to cut short) that emerged from Poster’s article, which seemed to divide the class a bit, some feeling that Poster was condescending (particularly about the digital author) and others feeling that Poster was acknowledging the prescience of Foucault’s post-author utopia. Or is it a dystopia? And is the modern “analogue” author still rattling around?

  2. John,
    Of course you remembered my “ghetto” comment but not my astute thoughts on the gender politics and objectification of women’s bodies haha. To continue the conversations on Poster’s article that Alex mentioned…I don’t necessarily think Poster was being condescending because I’m of an old school mind that thinks it maybe ruins the authenticity of authorship that literally ANYONE can write an ebook now and call themselves an author. Are there worthwhile ebooks that are self published? Yes, absolutely. But it is a slippery slope in that people are bypassing the typical route of editors, copywriters, publishing groups and reviews by newspapers and other published authors so some of the digital authored work might not be great quality just because it is in great quantity, or maybe BECAUSE it is in great quantity. Another thing I thought was interesting about Posters argument was when he brings up the performative nature of digital writing (491) when each individual becomes a characters as they see their dialogue appear on the screen. Are not analogue authors performing as well, even if its not on a screen? It is still written with the intent to be dispersed to the public so is it not still a performance even if it is not digital?

  3. I felt the debate was informative, and yet, when the debate about what Poster is trying to say, being brought up like it did tells us who our classmates are and how they feel about the presence of the book, what should be considered a book, what should be considered an author. However on this issue, I will have to side with Poster on the discussion. Pulling myself back on track, I found the slides on the Patchwork girl piece to be fascination, while I wouldn’t necessarily aim to call it a “choose your own adventure”, this piece does what can’t be done in a physical book through its devices of hyperlinks, granted, I can see how a book might mimic it in such a way that would resemble a “reverse index”. In otherwords, read a text which might have someway of going, and then, have a list of numbers which would resemble pages, and turn to any one of those pages to read an alternate version of what was going to be read on the next page. In otherwords, someone may be reading pages 1-10, and instead of reading on to page 11, they may skip to the following pages: 21, 31, 41, 91.

  4. I thought that the discussions that the class had about the “I Lay” passage were really interesting and definitely highlighted some clear differences between Frankenstein and Patchwork Girl, particularly in terms of the way the descriptions of the monster varied between the two pieces. One thing that I also found particularly notable were the passages from Frankenstein that Jackson included in Patchwork Girl, especially since they were included without credit. I suppose most readers who encounter Patchwork Girl will likely have read Frankenstein and would be able to recognize that the passages were from that. However, it did make me think about readers who may not have read Frankenstein, and if it would change their interpretation of Patchwork Girl if they didn’t know that there were passages from Frankenstein included. I wonder why Jackson made the choice not to note that some of the passages were from Frankenstein. I’d imagine that it had something to do with not wanting to “remove” readers from her narrative by breaking the flow of the experience with a citation or note.

  5. I thought it was important that you noted the internet is a tiny piece of the long history of the book. I wouldn’t want to depend on it entirely (in the current moment) because of this fact. There is a lot we don’t know about the digital world. I’m weary of digital preservation, only because there’s this unknown abyss of lost hard drives.

    Like Rupert Giles said on Buffy, “Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower, or a-a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell musty and-and-and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer is a… it, uh, it has no-no texture, no-no context. It’s-it’s there and then it’s gone. If it’s to last, then-then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible. It should be, um, smelly.”

  6. I thought that the way that everyone “read” The Patchwork Girl said something super interesting about the book itself. People had many different emotions when it came to the reading of that book such as, anger, frustration, confusion, and surrender. The anger stemmed from not being able to get the CD to work, the frustration stemmed from not being able to read it properly, the confusion stemmed from HOW to actually read it, and the surrendering came from the giving up on even trying to read it. But students’ watching YouTube videos and looking up summaries about the book really speaks to all these emotions that this digital texts brings to our generation which is mainly used to physical copies of books. Our generation is in the midst of experiencing this shift towards an (almost) all digital age so we are the ginny pigs of works like The Patchwork Girl.

  7. I really liked how specific you went into the smaller parts of the class that usually get forgotten, and I especially liked how organized your post was. I admitted I couldn’t figure out how to work Patchwork Girl at all, but from what I looked up and what we saw in class I could tell it was unlike anything I’ve ever really read. It really did feel more like a piece of art than a piece of literature. The obvious connections to Frankenstein were really interesting too, and with that being my favorite novel from the semester it only helped to peak my interest in Patchwork Girl. I’m curious as to what you thought about Shelley Jackson making Patchwork Girl a kind of continuation of Frankenstein.

  8. Person who admitted to attempting to pirate the book and facing the wrath of an infected file, guilty as charged. Really, I think what that taught me is that even if it seems to be the easiest route around something, it probably isn’t worth it. After hearing from some people that tried to get it Patchwork Girl to work on their systems, only to find that their x64 bit Operating Systems were incompatible, I started to wonder if the author ever intends to update the program to actually work on modern systems without issue. Perhaps I’ll send her an email about it…

    Anyways, I found the class interesting regardless. Like Patrick said, the connections to Frankenstein caught my interest, and I do hope to get my hands on a legitimate copy of the text when I can. I got the impression that we only covered a portion of the text in class and would like to have the chance to explore it fully – however, I’m not quite sure how I feel about the blatant pasting of passages from Frankenstein into Patchwork Girl. How do the rest of you feel about this? Is it not creatively dishonest to do so?

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