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 🙂

 

Our Visit to The Houghton Library

On Monday the class met at the Houghton Library at Harvard University for our final library field trip of the semester.  Trying to find the library was a bit challenging, and asking some Harvard students for help revealed that some of them were unfamiliar with the library.  Some students were very unsure of directions to the library even though it was pretty close by.  I must admit that I was a bit surprised by this since it is such an incredible resource!

Once we had all stowed our bags in the lockers, we went into the first room we visited on our tour.  We were surrounded by so many old and rare books in just that one room, it was amazing!  Unfortunately we couldn’t wander around the room to see the exhibit (which featured books selected by Harvard professors that they felt were meaningful) because some materials were set out for a group that was arriving after us.  Still, even from the part of the room we could go in, it became very clear that the library housed a truly amazing collection.

Next we made our way up a (super cool!) spiral staircase into a room that was specifically designed to look like a house in England during Samuel Johnson’s time.   Once we were all gathered in the room, we got to see a selection of the Houghton’s absolutely massive Samuel Johnson collection.  The room not only featured not only Samuel Johnson books, but also portraits of him and his inner circle.  They have the most extensive collection in the world, ranging from his personal set of of Bibles to first editions of his dictionary to his personal letters.  All of these items were collected by a couple who later donated them to the Houghton.  One of the items we looked at was a book that had never been folded, stitched together, or cut, so it remained in a pristine original condition.  It was very interesting to see especially since it was a good chance to see one of the stages of the book making process.  There was also a copy of the plan of the dictionary that was still in its original blue paper cover.

My favorite part of the whole tour came next!  Once we were done in the Samuel Johnson room, we went into the next room over to see the books and letters that were set out for us to look at.  Most of the items related to readings on our syllabus, so there was lots to see!  There was a copy of the Samuel Johnson dictionary (as well as his letters), other dictionaries (including one specifically for “hard words”), a Latin copy of the Philobiblon, a copy of Pale Fire, an 1818 first edition Frankenstein, and a first edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets.  My two favorite items were Frankenstein and the book of sonnets.  The Frankenstein books were really neat to see.  The novel was split into three individual volumes like we had discussed in class, and it was kind of wild seeing the title page of Volume 1 since we had done a whole class activity relating to it!  The sonnets were also incredible because apparently there are very few copies of the book known to exist and the one at the Houghton is probably in the best condition of all of them.  It was beautiful and I felt so happy that I got to take a closer look at it (without touching, since it is apparently one of the most rare books in the library).  I did ask to see the page for Sonnet 106, which is my favorite, so I was quite excited about that!!

Our tour of the Houghton Library was very exciting and interesting.  We were reminded several times that this library is not just for Harvard students and that we are free to visit the library again and research the materials there!  There is an online catalog that books can be requested through and if you get a special ID you can work with them in the reading room.  It is great to know that this library is a great resource for us, and it is only a Redline ride away!

Do Not Touch The Lion

I hope everyone enjoyed the JFK museum visit as much as I did! We will not be holding class April 17th due to Patriot’s Day, but keep an eye on your inbox for details from Alex about our April 24th visit to Harvard’s Houghton Library!

The first thing that strikes you when you enter the JFK Presidential Museum and Library is the architecture. The massive glass windows take excellent advantage of the ocean view, giving the whole building an open feeling, despite the secure nature of the building.

Our visit to the JFK library was guided by Dr. Justice, a superhero name if I’ve ever heard one. She led us up to the mural room, where we dropped off our stuff in order to begin the tour.

We were then brought down to a main research room, where academics can examine the works archived in both the JFK Presidential archive, and the Hemingway archive. Luckily, the resident researcher of the day was out on lunch, so we were able to stay a while and listen to some of the amazing things that Dr. Justice has been able to facilitate, including an amazing little story about using the referential prowess of the Library’s archivists to hunt down an old toy that is certainly out of production.

It should be noted that the Library’s resources are generally open to us, as students at UMB. If you’re interested in using the archives, all you have to do is check out the website! The archivist made it seem like a great deal of the materials are digitized, but Dr. Justice was very clear the the Library takes Copyright seriously, so make sure you adhere to Fair Use laws!

After the main research room, we proceeded to Hemingway room! This room featured a great deal of Hemingway’s novels, many of which are translations of his work into other languages. Dr. Justice explained that Hemingway’s works have a way of coming back in force during harsh times around the world. I’ve always thought that there is a timeless quality to Hemingway’s stoic bleakness, and I suspect that this quality helps to fuel the global popularity of Hemingway’s writing. The Hemingway room also featured a great deal of artifacts, as well as a wall of original Hemingway papers, collected from his notebooks, correspondences, and writing drafts.

Prominent, in the center of the room, is a giant lion pelt.  Apparently Simba (as referred to by Dr. Justice) was the victim of one of Hemingway’s various safaris. We were told not to touch the lion, and I assumed Dr. Justice was just asking for our courtesy to not touch the valuable artifact. Later, we learned that both Simba and Eddie (his gazelle compatriot) are in fact covered in Arsenic, and this warning was for our own good!

Upon our arrival back in the Mural room, Dr. Justice told us an amazing story about how she was able to draw a connection between Hills Like White Elephants and Hemingway’s transition from his first to his second marriage, using primary documents. At first, she was troubled by the content of the story. Upon an initial reading, the story seems like an aggressive, privileged man forcing his lover to have an abortion. Dr. Justice was able to find solace in the realization that Hemingway wrote himself as the girl, allowing the abortion to function as a powerful metaphor for his failed marriage and potential new love.

We finished up our visit by doing an activity in the Mural room. Dr. Justice printed off a few packets of source document photocopies, allowing us to view Hemingway’s creative process as he turned his raw teenage angst into a timeless and memorable short story. We were asked to find differences in the various drafts, and Dr. Justice guided us through these differences, giving us context. As a book nerd, the experience was sublime. It is truly a gift to be able to see the creative process of a recognized genius like Hemingway.

Nabokov’s Selling Out!

Hey everyone,

I hope that your week has been going well! My thesis is in… so I am not necessarily a basket case anymore. Hooray for that!

We started this Monday’s class by noting that next week, 4/10, we will be meeting at the JFK library from 2:30 to 4:30. Bring your love for Hemingway because they have some of the best Hemingway archives in the world… found this out from one of my most beloved professors in undergrad. I personally cannot wait to see them! Also everyone should be very excited to read Hemingway’s “A Very Short Story” which comes from his In Our Time collection, and its brilliant and lovely and all things wonderful. Before next class however, you should email Alex a 250-word summary of what you are considering doing your digital exhibition on. Good luck to all of you in finding interesting works to showcase.

Alex then went over a brief biography of Nabokov where we learned that he was born in St. Petersburg, his father was assassinated, and he moved to the U.S. at the very onset of WWII. He taught locally, and published Pale Fire in 1962. Alex (and Duncan White, by the way) failed to mention that Nabokov was also obsessed with butterflies, which I believe to be an incredibly telling influence in the production of Pale Fire. (Just thought I’d mention that).

Next, we discussed our own readings of the novel. The strategies we used, the order in which we read the sections (if we read it by sections at all). Alex pointed out that most of us hadn’t read the index even though he had specifically told us to read everything. I guess that some of our reading habits are just too difficult to break. We also decided that many of us were resistant readers because we had refused to read the novel the way in which Kimbote (or Nabokov) had told us to. I was very interested in our distinction between docile and resistant readership, and what that means especially in light of the history of the book. When we speak of the ways that title pages or covers are going to impact the way we read things are we speaking of docile readership? How are these things going to impact resistant readership then?

At the next part of class we split into groups to discuss the four sections of the novel. We each picked specific passages that we thought were reflective of the aims and decisions of the poem, and then shared them with our classmates. We discussed a number of interesting things, I had jotted down in my notes the way that Nabokov hated Freud but continually refers to him or references his theories e.g. when he has Kimboth fetishize the notecards upon which the fictional poem “Pale Fire” is written. (Duncan White later told us that he thought Nabokov doth protest too much in his resistance to Freud’s theories on the human psyche). We tried to solve the riddle of the italics, but again, as Duncan White noted later, the book seems to tempt the reader into this very trap of overreading. We examined the index which contained a self-referential, ever-repeating loop of entires—and from this we gathered that Pale Fire encourages a sort of textual assembly, but it is an assembly which does not make sense.

We then skyped with Duncan White who told us about his most recent project on Nabokov wherein he hopes to demystify his genius. In regards to our interests, his book sounds like it acts as a historicist insertion that seeks to provide contextual clues as to why Nabokov wrote Pale Fire when he did. White noted that Nabokov was constantly struggling against his own marketable value, and might have written Pale Fire in response to Lolita’s runaway success. One metaphor I thought particularly funny was when White noted that “like a rock band, Nabokov did not want to sell out”. We discussed the various ways in which Pale Fire seems to contain an anxiety about a madman Kimbote taking over our text. Nabokov, preceeding Barthes, still seems to have believed in the control of the author, although death appears to Nabokov as being principle threat. Lastly, White asked us if we felt that the poem was actually a good poem, which I find to be a fascinating question because I don’t actually believe it is. However, we feel about that though, White told us that “Pale Fire” the poem had been published in the past sans its commentary—which seems to be completely missing the point of the whole exercise.

For the last period of class, we worked on annotating the first few paragraphs of the forward in the novel. For next class, we are to have annotated and commented upon the other person’s annotations that we received when it was passed back randomly. I hope everyone got interesting annotations! See you all at JFK!

Author[ity] and all that jazz

Hello, it’s me too.

We had a lot on the agenda today and we managed to fit it all in.

  • Workshop #3
  • Syllabus changes
    • for next week, we will read all of Nabokov’s “Pale Fire.” DO NOT SKIM Y’ALL.
    • the secondary reading has changed and is posted on the wiki. We will have a guest, via skype…Duncan White and we’ll be discussing his article.
    • Grad students, sorry, we still have to read BHR for next week as well.
  • digital exhibition
    • This is all posted on the wiki, but I’ll give a quick run down of what went down.
      • We have some important dates to remember.
        • so many bullet points!
          • it goes on forever…
            • April 10-brief email explaining your choice due.
            • May 1-(investigation) compilation of bibliographic info, at least 5 sources, etc.
            • May 8-we will share our projects in class, around 10 minutes
            • May 12-(by midnight) final page due on the class blog
            • APRIL 24- GRAD STUDENTS (I KNOW…) we have a 500 word research statement due for our final paper.
  • intellectual property discussion
  • Poe and Longfellow (quick time)

 

We had a fun discussion today; you should feel bad if you weren’t there: Part I. Workshop #3

  • What was refreshing about the discussion today was I felt a flow, where we were bouncing ideas off one another and actively trying to understand the other person’s point of view. I’m not sure if that was because it was a smaller group, but it was nice. I was partnered with Sam for the workshop and even though we had opposing views [or so it seemed] once we started discussing it, we realized they weren’t so different after all. The content was different, but the reasoning was the same.
  • Each group had something new to contribute to the conversation about authorial power and validation. Victoria thought the 1831 edition gave the text validation because there was an actual name to associate with. Someone [who’s name I did not write down, SORRY GIRL, or guy] thought the text could be read without bias in the 1818 edition and that gave it more validation. We went back to Barthes and asked: Does naming the author limit the text or give power to the text? The answer is…we aren’t quite sure yet. That’s a question they will probably be asking in 50, then 100 years. It’s easy to find compelling reasons on both sides.
  • We then talked about intertexuality vs. innertexuality and how that functions.
  • We talked about the physicality of the illustrations in the 1831 editions and cover art in contemporary times.
  • OH and apparently there’s a second edition, published in 1822.

Part II. Intellectual Property Discussion

  • Quick-write: We were given a little letter on THE book printer of Venice in 1469. Alex asked us to answer the question, What are the terms of the rights give to the printer, Johannes of Speyer? What does it suggest about a printer’s authority?
    • We spoke about where that authority is actually coming from, the printer himself or the government, or the crown. (*daunting music in the background*)
    • We also talked about him being referred to as a craftsman, and printing as an art. It is highly valued. Today, we don’t refer to printing so much as an “art.”
  • Brewer and Rose (BHR): perpetual property
    • We got into small groups and talked about what it means to “own” your writing. We were running out of time, so we didn’t get too deep into it.
    • In BHR, they talk about there no longer being one single publisher will all the power, but options for writers.
      • “many entrances and numerous routes to eventual publication” (321).
      • “demand for material exceeded supply” (321).
        • today, we have the internet for that.
  • Poe and Longfellow (real fast)
    • We had a brief chat on the conflict between these two poems. Longfellow accused Poe of plagiarizing, though I think that was unsubstantiated. Both had images of rivers and a spectator…that’s most pastoral poetry.
    • That got us to think about, can you plagiarise allegory?
    •  Poe responded to Longfellow with that letter explaining why “the whole tournure of the poem is based ion mine, as you will see at all. It’s allegorical conduct, the style of its versification and expression-all are mine.”
      • a little dramatic, but it’s Poe…
    • So, who “owns” words and who “owns” expression? And what is actual original?

 

Good night and Good luck.

xoxo,

Gossip Girl

 

 

Week 10: Intellectual Property Wars

Hello, it’s me.

We had a strong presence of ten students in class today, so this blog post goes out to all of you who left us all alone. May you find all the info you missed in here.
_______________________________________
Syllabus changes —
For next week (Week 11):
Still read Pale Fire. Alex says we need to read EVERYTHING, do not skim the usual commentary that you would….turns out all the things we usually avoid are actually important this time.
*However, the secondary readings have been changed to a section on Pale Fire in “Nabokov and His Books” by Duncan White who will be skyping in with us next class. It is under ‘Reading Schedule” on WIKI.

For Week 12:
Still meet at JFK Library but the readings have changed to Hemingway’s “A Very Short Story” and “Hills Like White Elephants”.
For Week 13:
It’s still Patriots Day, so just watch Netflix.
_________________________________________

Digital Exhibition Project: (additional info on WIKI)
Just when you thought you were completely exhausted and can’t take anymore, don’t forget our final project is coming up! 🙂 Here are some brief details from what we discussed in class but check the WIKI for more, I can’t do everything for you guys.

Select one rare book or manuscript (letter, newspaper, etc…) to be exhibited on course blog. It can be in the archives we visit or another library or your own collection.
Pick one you think we can all learn something from and that merits further study.
Workshop 5 will help us catalog a biographical description of your book. So you have to have PICKED your book by Workshop 5.
By April 10th email Alex a rational behind your specific choice. Which copy? Where is it?

Present the book to other students sharing photographs
* On May 8th you share your notes, pictures, reasonings, and your plan on how to exhibit on the blog in a 5 minute presentation.
Compile list of materials and sources relevant for understanding.
* By May 1st you should have done an investigation on your chosen item. Try looking it up in a library catalogue or online research. You must submit a bibliography in MLA format with at least 5 secondary sources.
Publish selected pages.
On May 12th the whole project is due.
For grad students: On May 19th the formal paper is due.
— Should make a larger argument, on top of your specific item, on how that item plays a role INSIDE of a scholarly question. By April 24th, 500 words of a research statement is due identifying the target of your paper.
—- You may work in partners for the exhibition, but despite our best efforts we could not convince Alex to let us write the final paper as a group of 10, 1 page per grad student. My most sincere apologies on that one. He was pretty close to saying yes though so I mean, not a bad effort on our part.

______________________________________
Class Discussion Surrounding Workshop 3:
— Authorship and validity of a text may come from the author’s name. 1818 doesn’t have Shelley’s name and still people criticized it, maybe more because of a lack of the name. 1831 has her name so maybe times have changed more in those 13 years that it was more acceptable for her to add her name without facing scrutiny because of her gender.
—- Who is more important, the reader or the author?
….We haven’t really answered this question, might take a few more classes/years.
—- Foucault, it makes us more uncomfortable to see no author, how can we read into the conventions of the novel if we don’t know who wrote it? Does this fall under their usual work? Personally what I can add is that my critical reading, Knights Quarterly, even questioned if Mary Shelley really wrote both Valpega and Frankenstein because her style was so different.
— Interpretations of the monsters image in the 1831, he does not look like a brutish monster but more like a greek god, with his abs (thanks Halla), and more feminine appearance. this could come from the initial negative reception of the novel of being too concerned with empathizing with a monster and now the 1831 version is making him seem less frightening and emphasizing more on romance, especially with the image of Elizabeth who is not referenced in the 1818 version.
– Darisse brought up verticality of the 1818 (scroll reading) vs horizontal movement (codex reading) = old vs new.
– Seriality of the volumes, in the past volumes and chapters would come out one at a time for a novel in magazines or papers and the novel would evolve based on reception but currently, novels are published all at once and the notion of changing it during the writing process based on reviews is no longer used. The other side of this is now we have more avenues of critiquing novels because of the internet.
– Alex spoke to the idea that we don’t emphasize enough these elements of material context of the book and how that affects the way we read it. How do things appear on the page? What are they juxtaposed with – a facebook ad? We need to pay more attention to these things.
Class Discussion Surrounding Intellectual Property and Printers (Venetian Monopoly 1469 & 1666 The Case of the Booksellers and Printers handout)

— This link should show you my annotated worksheet of the Venetian Monopoly: Johannes Printing Annotation  and this is my quick write on the topic: Quickwrite 3:27

— Both articles on the rights of printing refer to printing as an art and give precedence and authority to the printers.
—- The 1666 is worried about the effect of a monopoly, so very opposite from the 1469 article. The booksellers are worried about the crown creating a monopoly and asserting their power in a negative way. It is a statement against the crown whereas the Venice degree was a statement of law.
— Consider the type of language that is used to describe books, printers, authors, publishing:
*In 1666 it mentions the author’s rights and property: this is the first example of any notion of literary property. The book as an intellectual property.
*The book as a body: “the spine”, made from animal skin (vellum), corporal features of the book that go away as we begin to call it a property.

Poe & Longfellow

Example of how can you take one object and relate it to a larger question.

Similarities we noticed as a class: references to rivers, both seem to be referencing an older tale, an implied spectator

Well, Longfellow noticed these similarities too and accused Poe of plagiarism! Poe responds in good ‘ol Poe fashion and basically shuts him down. “The whole tournure [[clothing of the poem —> i.e: a BODY]] is based upon mine…its allegorical conduct, the style of its versification and expression — all are mine.”
But can expression and style really be so specific to only being credited to one writer?

That’s all!

A Discussion on Frankenstein and Workshops

Note: I’ve been having issues with my account, finally settled them today, apologies for having this up so late.

The session of class on March 20th marked our return from Spring Break. Over the break, we all read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and completed our own transcription of the Moralitas from one of Henryson’s fables.

Before we got to the topics of the class, Professor Mueller informed us about an Arthurian film that was being shown on campus. He offered extra credit for those that would be able to attend the film, and there was a brief discussion about the fact that most Arthurian films tend to be poor quality (with Monty Python and the Holy Grail being the best of them, of course) but the one being shown on campus was supposedly an exception to this rule of mediocrity.

We then moved on to the discussion of our transcriptions. The class broke off into pairs (and a few groups of 3) to compare their transcriptions and see what their partners did that was either similar or different to their own work. After these small group discussions concluded, we reformed as a class and shared what we noticed. Many people discussed not wanting to over-gloss the text and thereby insult the intelligence of the reader. This was a concern that Professor Mueller agreed with, and pointed out that one of the editions we examined was a teaching edition and therefore had extra notes to clarify some things.

I mentioned that in my edition, I had chosen to represent the character that looked like an f that represented an s as a bolded lowercase f when creating my transcription, while others chose to just change the f to an s. Both methods are valid, as pointed out by the professor, and it comes down to how the editor wants to recreate the text they are working with.

We then moved on to Frankenstein, opening the discussion by being assigned to find a passage that we felt characterizes Frankeinstein, the Monster, or Walton. From this discussion, the class found that many of our ideas about each character were very similar, which I found interesting, as I believe a few pairs of people selected the same passages for their given character.

We were then tasked with breaking into groups again in order to discuss the essays we read before class. Each group had a similar theme to their essays, allowing for each group to present the common themes they found in their discussion, which let the class learn how thoughts on the work have been formed over the years. We discussed the differences between the 1818 edition and the 1831 edition. I was surprised to learn that the 1831 edition is the one that most people are used to reading in high school while the 1818 edition was the one we had read for class (and now I want to find my copy of the 1831 edition and compare them). We then transitioned into the third workshop, which tasked us with comparing the title pages of the 1818 edition (found in our books) and the 1831 edition (provided via handout and the projector). We were assigned with creating a write-up on these differences, and in class, we discussed some of them – the presence of Mary Shelley’s name on the 1831 edition, the presence of images on the 1831 edition, the dedication on the backside of the 1818 title page being the most prevalent – before class eventually ended. Next week, we will probably discuss the title pages a bit more (well, I hope we do).

Again, sorry that this is being posted so late, but my account issues have been handled.

My first ever attempt at a blog entry…

Hello everyone, I’m putting it out there right now that I’m not the most creative person in the world or used to this kind of writing, but here we go. This is our first time back in class after break, and over break we read Frankenstein, a book I’m familiar with from my time with Ms. Manganiello in 10th grade English. We didn’t get into Frankenstein right away however, and one of the first things Professor Mueller talked about in class was the screening for an Arthurian film on Tuesday that I sadly could not attend. There was more general discussion about the final project for our class where we select one book and we go in depth about the history of said book, and while I have one book on my mind I’m hesitant on choosing it because it might be dull. After getting all of that out of the way we dove right into the actual work, and compared our transcriptions of Robert Henryson’s “Moralitas”. My partner and I had pretty different takes on our transcriptions, he changed the actual content and made it how he felt it should be while I completely copied Henryson’s words. One interesting thing that he did that I didn’t was change all of the f’s that were supposed to be s’s into s’s, and instead of doing that I just left them as f’s. There was a lot of discussion around the class about the glossing as well, and whether or not some of Henryson’s glossing was necessary and why some of us glossed certain things instead of others. Professor Mueller used the MED as well, and we tried searching for certain words in it, which was actually pretty helpful considering I get absolutely nowhere when I’m trying to search for something on that site. After finishing up with Workshop #2 we transitioned into our first novel, Frankenstein. The first phase of our discussion started with the important characters in the novel, and each student was assigned either Victor Frankenstein, Captain Walton, or the creature. We all found passages within the novel that we thought best represented our assigned character and it was probably my favorite part of the class because Frankenstein and the creature are two of my favorite characters from literature because of their interesting relationship. After that was over with we got into groups and went over our assigned essays that were within the novel, and my group found that our essays were all related in that they talked about nature as being a core topic in the novel. One interesting thing I noticed in my essay was that the reviewer referred to the author of Frankenstein as a “he”, and this just puts some perspective into how Mary Shelley had to go about with the publication of her novel because of the fear of how a female novelist would be received. The final part of class was our next workshop which was focused on the covers of the 1818 and 1831 editions of the novel, and it actually was pretty crazy how much the covers changed in just 13 years. The 1818 edition didn’t have any artwork, and most importantly didn’t even include Mary Shelley’s name on it, and I don’t believe it was on the novel until 1822. The 1831 was more appealing with an actual illustration on it, and it had the aforementioned Shelley’s name being included on the cover. That workshop was also done in partners and after we discussed our observations on the covers we came together and shared all of our thoughts as a class. That was pretty much what happened in class on Monday, and while I’ve never done an assignment like this before, I can definitely say that it wasn’t all that bad.