Table of Contents

Virtual Romanticism: between the early modern and the present
There are 147 comments in this document

In two recent works (see HERE and HERE) that consider our private and public desires amid digital 2.0 culture, mediated communication is described as a variegated stream of nostalgia, an unceasing flow of intensities of disconnected feeling, and a realm of existence where we have “become mesmerized by our own looking” (Jodi Dean).

Interestingly, many of the criticisms levied against social media and digital culture have their roots in the themes and designations of an earlier era, often referred to as the “Romantic period” (the late 18th and early 19th  centuries).  Yet, in these contexts, nostalgia, an obsession with self-reflexivity, and affect and feeling are drawn as the outline of an emerging private and interiorized self. Indeed, many past critics have identified Romantic period literature with the advent of modern individualism.  In some senses we could see this formulation as being at odds with a nostalgia and affect-driven mode of exchange that is derived from crowds, wikis, networks and any other number of collective dwelling spaces associated with our contemporary digital lives.

Our task in this seminar is to draw both of these conversations into contact with one another — and into question.  Two framing points of inquiry will guide us (further informed by the input and interests of the seminar participants):

1)   That Romantic Feeling: The experiences and atmospheres of both contemporary digital culture and Romantic-era literature and media share many similarities: an interest in how thought and feeling are conveyed; a concern with affect and emotive flow; both a retreat from and a reconsideration of political life through aesthetics; an impulse toward desire and nostalgia.  How can these similarities allow us to ask different questions of both digital culture and Romanticism?  Both periods lend themselves to celebratory and derogatory clichés. How can setting these two event-spaces  (or historical moments) next to one another expand our thinking (thinking with them; thinking through them)?

2)   The Virtual World: Both the Romantic era and our present moment are particularly concerned with what we might call “virtual” experience.  The virtual at our moment is often synonymous with being present “online,” or with the effects of “Real Life” that show up in digital or networked environments.  In the Romantic period, the virtual makes an appearance through notions of how one can be moved (literally, and materially, in some cases) from one place or experience to another (transported or conveyed through words, affect, or media).  Peter Otto argues that traditional interpretations of Romantic literature distract us from the presence of the virtual through references to the imagination.  We will look at where a distinction between imagination and virtual experience might lead us, now and then.

This course is about thinking and doing: we will think, read and discuss, but we will also make things that respond to what we think, read and discuss.  To that end, this class has been built on a collective writing and editing platform.  We will talk more in the first class session about how this all works.  You will also find a series of links to pages in the header bar that can help with how to post, where to find readings, and supplemental course materials.

from "Education Needs a Digital Upgrade..." "If you have a child entering grade school this fall, file away just one number with all those back-to-school forms: 65 percent. Chances are just that good that, in spite of anything you do, little Oliver or Abigail won’t end up a doctor or lawyer — or, indeed, anything else you’ve ever heard of. According to Cathy N. Davidson, co-director of the annual MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competitions, fully 65 percent of today [...]

1 Comments

In “The Prelude,” William Wordsworth calls up the name of Cervantes and his most notable character Don Quixote in the section concerning the Dream of the Arab. Although used just for a comparison to the way the camel-aloft Arab looks, this allusion comes in at a point where Wordsworth is giving a none-too-subtle warning about the dangers of math and technological advancement in the Romantic Era. The man in the dream states that “this book (the shell) is something of more worth” in regard [...]

3 Comments

I have to admit right away that I bring a strange agenda to the table. As a manic-depressive, the nature of my personality means that I tend to seize on minute details and make connections that seem absurd. In a state of mania, my brain can seem to run through thousands of possibilities in the amount of time it takes me to blink. Sometimes, that's a good thing. Sometimes, not so much. But one of the connections which intrigues me the most from the readings and discussion this week is the issue o [...]

6 Comments

The "Now You See It" article by Davidson was interesting. That 65% of grade school children today may have a futuristic kind of job really put things in perspective for me.  It has reframed the way I think about technology, especially its use by young people. I accept and understand their use of it more than I did. Even though because of my age I am different--my papers are better than my blogs. I write good papers, and blogs? Well this is my first. I am from a different time period where comp [...]

1 Comments

Is anyone familiar with the concept of Orientalism as discussed by Edward Said? If you are not, here is a quick and easy to read link that details this important concept: http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/Orientalism.html For right now, I will just enter a quick quote from the link, "The Orient signifies a system of representations framed by political forces that brought the Orient into Western learning, Western consciousness, and Western empire. The Orient exists for the West, and is constr [...]

11 Comments

When I looked at the scheduled readings for this week, the one that stood out to me was “Confessions of an Opium Eater” by De Quincey. Actually, I couldn’t wait to read it, so on Friday I grabbed my book and took it outside to read all about the perils of opium abuse. I read the introduction for it and got even more eager to read it. I began to read the excerpt: eagerly waiting for all the juicy parts.  And then in a few short pages it was over. That was it? I expected so much more. Maybe [...]

3 Comments

The truth and what is real is not in the actual, but in the possible. I think the writers we've read were trying to get past the current "real" or everyday occurrences which were filled with political, economic and religious upheaval, through the "unreal," represented by dreams, fantasies, and fiction. By presenting those things which were not real, but imagined, they were trying to open their own and the public's minds to the possible - those things which were not yet real but could be real [...]

2 Comments

For the last six days, I just can' t get the discussion that we had last week in class out of my head.  In book fifth of Wordsworth's The Prelude, he tells an allegory about a chivalric knight who happens across an Arab and includes a description of a phobia he faces wherein all the books in the world will be burned and humanity will be left to start over again.  As irrational as this fear may seem, I hope it doesn't mean that Wordsworth is crazy because that would mean that he and I suffer fr [...]

1 Comments

Although De Quincey was writing about MacBeth, it was Facebook I thought of when reading the following:  “He will be aware that at no moment was his sense of the complete suspension and pause in ordinary human concerns so full and affecting as at that moment when the suspension ceases, and the goings-on of human life are suddenly resumed.”  I have often experienced this in the moment after Facebook finally loads only to reveal no new notifications awaiting me. The noises of the house retur [...]

2 Comments

For many people, sleep and the possibility of dreams present an opportunity to escape the conflicts of real life. These problems in our lives sometimes deprive us of the ability to get a good rest at night, but when we can, we are afforded the chance to check out of the world for a few hours. We usually separate reality as things we can touch and feel when we are conscious and dreams, or nightmares, as manifestations of our mind when we are asleep. Very rarely do I wake from a dream terrified, a [...]

2 Comments

While working on my undergraduate research thesis, I came across a very morbid theory of culture. It was titled "wound culture theory." This theory supposes that people marvel at the body physically and symbolically torn apart. Essentially, it is why we stare at car accidents and watch slasher films. This theory would help explain the sudden popularity of such gross subject matter as the corporeal blending with the ethereal, the psychological wounds blending with the physical ones. The Gothic [...]

1 Comments

I think it is fascinating that most of the writers in the Gothic era were women. I also liked the reference to Strawberry Hill. Don’t the Beatles allude to this very Strawberry Hill in one of their songs? I love Horace Walpole’s “The Castle of Otranto” and the story of Isabella and how terrified she is of the crotchety, horny old Manfred. I love how the castle itself becomes terrifying. If this story were made into a movie I imagine that it would be best suited in black and white, and ma [...]

1 Comments

As a librarian, I’m always interested in how people find and use information.  I was surprised to find a lot in our readings this week and last week that made me think more about this, relating to traditional forms of information like books as well as the internet, cell phones, and other digital media.   I thought that Jodi Dean’s idea that the internet encourages “communication for its own sake, without caring too much about what is being said” was really interesting, but dishearteni [...]

5 Comments

Reading De Quincy’s eloquent descriptions of the poverty and despair he experienced during his early life provide easy comparisons to the lives that many American citizens lead today. I could understand why opiates would do more for him than ease the “painful ailments” of his physical body just as I can understand why some people today search for an escape from the despair of poverty. Most of us cannot imagine what life is like for those living in dilapidated slums or the drug-riddled proj [...]

3 Comments

In De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, he sheds light on what is being perceived by him while on opium.  He calls it a change to his “physical economy” while on opium, however, I have always believed that the way you perceive things (despite any mind-altering factors) is in fact reality, regardless of whether or not it is really happening.  If one perceives it to happen then it happened as far as I’m concerned. On page 561, De Quincey mentions four facts that he has [...]

1 Comments

In childhood, I experience the fun part of the Gothic. I first read Frankenstein "with pale and mute attention" as Aikin and Aikin would put it. The language thrilled my body and the suspense on what was to happen next hooked my mind. "THAT WAS TOTALLY AWESOME!" I said to my teacher later, but I didn't ask questions or consider what the story could mean. My only remark without elaboration inwardly or out was, "That monster is cool, that scientist is stupid." Then almost two years ago, it was [...]

3 Comments

The portion of Thomas de Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater that struck me most was the section on page 558 where he describes not being able to find his friend Ann (“I shed tears, and muse with myself at the mysterious dispensation which so suddenly and so critically separated us for ever”). The footnote goes on to explain that after traveling and soliciting, de Quincey returned to the city and never saw Ann again. He never knew if she was dead or alive or if she was lookin [...]

2 Comments

I found it interesting how the Gothic and terror was seen to be found in architecture. I also found an emphasis on space and time. In, “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater” by Thomas De Quincy, it was interesting that even he wrote of architecture. “In the early stage of my malady, the splendors of my dreams were indeed chiefly architectural: and I beheld such pomp of cities and palaces as was never yet beheld by the waking eye, unless in the clouds.” Earlier, when De Quincy was listin [...]

1 Comments

Readers of the Gothic lived in a world that was changing rapidly and becoming highly visual: “[f]or many during this period, modernity, meaning the promiscuous circulation of signs (commodity, culture, panoramas, billboards, illustrated newspapers) was itself a ‘phantasmagoria”, where the world itself appeared the product of disoriented imagination” (from the “Introduction: Gothic Romance as Visual Technology” by Robert Miles). I can’t even begin to imagine how drastically these si [...]

1 Comments

I took my ex to the Museum of Modern Art back in the 80s. Standing in front of an exquisite sculpture, I was completely without words to express the emotions it evoked in me. Turning to him, I asked, "What do you think?" To which he replied, "Looks like shit to me." While my ex was relatively easy to get rid of, the argument about what constitutes art is much more stubborn. What IS art? Who gets to decide? The intro "The Gothic and the Development of a Mass Readership," says that critics "obj [...]

2 Comments

Fears of Children Children, in the general sense of the term, have been and will always be more susceptible to the fears and the terror of the unknown. Darkness, the coat in the closet, whatever lurks underneath the bed; these things, albeit scary in their own right, are widely considered terrifying only to the imaginations of children and the preconceived notions that kids have a tendency to lean towards. This fear is innate in almost all kids just as parents’ fearing for their children is [...]

1 Comments

“But Gothic is also a narrative technique, a generic spin that transforms the lovely and the beautiful into the abhorrent and then frames this transformation within a humanist moral fable” (Halberstam 22). Judith Halberstam is absolutely correct with this statement, though I contend that she is missing one crucial element—permanence.  What really makes the horrifying thing horrifying (at least as far as I can say based on my experience with late twentieth century horror films) is that [...]

2 Comments

It can generally be agreed upon that all literature by its very nature is subjective. What strikes one reader as meaningful and relevant very well may not register with another. Such is the case in modern times, when technology has never been more transparent in society, but it was also the case during the Gothic period of the late 18th century. Writers such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge were skeptical about the merits of the Gothic novel and its effects on the general public. Howev [...]

1 Comments

I really don’t like scary movies, so I’ve never actually seen any of the films that Judith Halberston discusses in her article.  It bothered me more that I hadn’t read any of the books she was talking about, either, though (except for Dorian Gray).  About that book, I thought it was interesting that she relates that “Oscar Wilde was shocked by the critics who called the Picture of Dorian Gray ‘poisonous’ and ‘heavy with the mephitic odors of moral and spiritual putrefaction’.  [...]

3 Comments

Judith Halberstam in Chapter 1 from Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters, points to contemporary horror to show that our desire for the Gothic has not waned from the Victorian Era of yesteryear. Jules Law, in Gothic Technologies: Visuality in the Romantic Era – Introduction: Gothic Romance as Visual Technology also speaks of the immense popularity in today’s marketplace for horror adding the dimension of the importance of the visual for its audience. Both writers explore [...]

0 Comments

Both of these articles describe the Gothic as a mechanism in one form or another. In Halberstam's "Skin Shows," Halberstam describes the Gothic as a mechanism for unveiling Christmas as a commodity deconstructed through The Nightmare Before Christmas (22). Miles explores how the Gothic combines the mechanical and the human, described as "the modern uncanny." Pre-modern cinema brings to the forefront this idea of the spiritual without bodies (para. 7). This shift of the previous spiritual rites [...]

1 Comments

Sometimes it’s tough to figure out who is a monster and who is a magician in a story. For most Christians, God is a magician, with burning bushes and seas dividing, while the Devil is a horned monster, a demon, stealing the souls of the innocent. The Devil would scare Frankenstein. It seems easy to see the line of distinction between good and evil when you are talking about the Bible, right?  And yet, Lewis’ The Monk,  one of the good guys – a monk for heaven’s sake– is really the mo [...]

7 Comments

Gothic visual entertainment was popular during the romantic era because not only was it 'affective' and sometimes terrifying, it was real and in the moment. Robert Miles states, " The links between the Gothic and the rise of visual technology are at once deep and seemingly fortuitous. For example, take the case of Count Cagliostro,Cagliostro's Gothic sufferings at the hands of the Inquisition prompted two of the genre's most accomplished romances from the late 1790s, Radcliffe's The Italian ( [...]

1 Comments

With the Skin Shows article, I've taken particular interest in the effects of horror via the two modes of transmittion, text and cinema. Halberstam notes on page 3 that in the modern period, the shift from text to visual narrowed the scope of horror. At first consideration, one might think the opposite would be true, but I agree with her statement that, when you read, you have your imagination and it can take all the time needed to pause and dwell on specific passages in the novel. With cinema [...]

1 Comments

One phrase found in the first chapter of Halberstrom’s Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters, that interested me was avant la lettre. After some research, I understood this to mean in the context of the chapter, that the monsters in Gothic literature represented real fears before consumers of the Gothic even recognized it. The monsters found in Gothic literature are the manifest of the “Other.” Lacan argues that language helps one to see themselves as related to others a [...]

0 Comments

I had an extremely difficult time finding anything to say about this week’s readings, but I know I have to say something. I apologize in advance. Judith Holberstam’s Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters made me think of Franklin Roosevelt’s quote about having nothing to fear but fear itself. People often fear what is foreign as Holberstam states in her article, but it seems that at least in early Gothic literature, writers failed to examine themselves. Perhaps [...]

1 Comments

The concept of how monsters are presented in art, and, of course, what they mean to people is fascinating to me. I had a theory a year ago that monsters have been through severe evolution in the Western culture over the centuries. I kind of thought they started our as hideous (reflecting our faults and what the story heroes had to face in the forest); then the other (the race, etc); then I thought there was big transformation that "beauty was on the inside" and the creature to be pitied but coul [...]

2 Comments

I had a terrible dream. In it, I was trapped in a seemingly endless article about Gothic Monstrosity.  I fought through walls of dense sentences and maze-like paragraphs and pages that seemed to lengthen under my fingers. The more I struggled against the material, searching for an opening, a place to get a grip, or a sentence that didn’t send me reaching for the dictionary, the more trapped and claustrophobic I became. I cried out in anguish when, after reading for what felt like hours, I rea [...]

1 Comments

I find this weeks readings very interesting because of what our class is based on: the virtual.  Although the articles were a little confusing at times, I tried to read with an understanding of the virtual world that we live in.  In a number of ways one could say that our virtual world now is similar to the Gothic’s understanding of monsters. While we struggle with defining the virtual world today as real life or not, it seems the Gothic monster was a struggle for people to see as real or [...]

0 Comments

Modern Monstrosity- Godzilla and Terror The gothic era paved way for the monster genre with novels such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Modernity has seen anything but the fall of the monster genre and has seen the far ranging types of monstrosity such as King Kong to Hannibal Lecter to Voldemort. Arguably, the most world renowned monster over the last few decades has been dubbed Godzilla. This amphibious monster has since become attached to the public’s psyche [...]

1 Comments

Critical theory. Just say the words to anyone not involved in the Humanities (with a capital "H"), and eyes glaze over. It's not unlike when my friend tries to talk to me about electricity. Volts, ohms, watts, and all their technical companions refuse to compute in my mind. I have learned to nod in the right places, and ease my way out of those conversations. But, for me, theory IS the conversation. Once a conversation begins to go in that direction (and, okay, it doesn't happen often, but it d [...]

1 Comments

I’m modernizing the Romantics fight against the gothic novel. I picture an exorcism with Wordsworth and Coleridge fighting for the souls of the world against the gothic enemy. Monsters, the soul-snatching, terror-wreaking beings coming to Earth from the planet Novel to destroy us. In Wordsworth’s poem, “Composed Upon Westminster’s Bridge, September 3, 1802” he writes: Earth has not anything to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in its [...]

1 Comments

When I started reading A Journal of the Plague Year I assumed that Defoe was writing about his own experiences. I noticed a few times that he was referred to as H.F., but I didn’t think too much about it. Then during one of his long spiels that was a repeat of another long spiel, I read the back cover and noticed the words “purporting” and “fictional.” Defoe had me 100% convinced that I was reading about his experiences and not a work of fiction. After I finished the book, I read the i [...]

2 Comments

As I read Defoe’s descriptions of 1660s Londoners in A Journal of the Plague Year, I was surprised to see much the same types of manipulation and fear-mongering for personal gain that go on today were going on over 350 years ago. Defoe’s recounting of people being led, by their fright, “to Conjurers and Witches, and all sorts of Deceivers…who fed their Fears, and kept them always alarm’d, and awake, on purpose to delude them, and pick their Pockets,” took my thoughts from the newspap [...]

0 Comments

            Journal of the Plague Year is a fictional account, but it’s based on true events, things we know really happened.  I thought that this book seemed very different from the other things we have read so far—it’s actually much scarier than gothic novels!  Did any gothic authors ever use plague as a plot device, I wonder?  They probably should have if they didn’t, yikes! I started thinking about how this work might fit together with all of the other things we’ve rea [...]

0 Comments

In the first few pages of A Journal of the Plague Year, the narrator gives accounts of the first few months of the visitation. Many times, Defoe includes references to how the economy affects the people’s behaviors. On page 8, the narrator describes how the “richer sort of people, especially the Nobility and Gentry,” were able to flee the Plague because they could afford to travel in wagons, carts, and with horses. Their circumstances afforded them the means to purchase better and speedier [...]

1 Comments

What immediately struck me within the first few pages of Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year was how he presents a different type of monster. This monster was terrorizing the people ofLondon during 1665, but it was not some figment of their imagination. The Plague was a real and ever-present danger among the people of this city. Even though Defoe bases his account on events that actually happened, the language in his tale is reminiscent of that used by writers during the Gothic period to desc [...]

0 Comments

Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year presents a chilling account of human tragedy of proportions that are difficult to fathom. The introduction to the book states that he (Defoe) created a work that is “fiction masquerading as history and vice versa, a dazzling hoax that deploys the mechanics of truthful inquiry (xiii).” The quote above begs the question, why does truth have to masquerade as fiction? The realities presented in this book might provide an answer to that question, and [...]

6 Comments

Daniel Defoe post by Alexandra Hunter

0 Comments

Okay guys, I just went on a wild goose chase on the internet trying to find the best online dictionary to define the word “virtual.”  Any luck? No way.  Every single definition is completely different from the one before it. Doctionary.com defines “virtual” as “being such in power, force, or effect, though not actually or expressly such: a virtual dependence on charity.”  This definition actually fits what we talk about and read in class pretty well.  This sense of power that [...]

0 Comments

As we have studied, monsters come in many shapes and forms. They, I think have the power to morph from one thing into another, not only in fiction, but in real life as well. The Plague is the monster that morphed into another-mass hysteria. Fear attacking the mind and overwhelming it, causing death in some instances, not from the plague, but men's hearts failing them from fear alone. Take away the comforts of man and strange things begin to happen, like men jumping to their deaths at the crash o [...]

0 Comments

After reading “A Journal of the Plague Year” thus far, I have to the conclusion that fear is and was just as infectious as the plague itself. The way that people react to the plague in the story reminds me so much of how people fear sicknesses, disaster, etc. today. I noticed this particularly in how the government handled the facts concerning the plague, such as the number of people dying from it in the beginning, and in the way people tried to avoid the plague in the beginning.   [...]

0 Comments

I was struck by how calm and proud the narrator narrates. He not only seems to be handling it all well, but keeping his sanity in any form of mass hysteria. I didn't believe it, but then I thought that was Defoe's point...he wasn't really writing a novel, but a docu-drama in a way...and so the narrator would be the calm bystander (even though in this case, he's a part of it rather than a visitor). A section that really spoke out to me was the part before the plague about the woman seeing the [...]

0 Comments

This week, I took a group of students to see the horror flick The Possession. It was a reward for work well done, and they chose the film. It is what the title suggests, the conflict centering around the possession of a young girl by a demon. (My favorite plot twist is when the teacher--oh, no! not the teacher--gets it.) Several of the students chose to watch another film. Their rationale was that the possibilities in the horror film were too real.We've talked in this class about how the familia [...]

0 Comments

Stats and Relatability I will be the first one to tell you that Journal of the Plague Year was unbelievably hard for me to read. It wasn’t that the wording was complicated, the spelling was naturally archaic or there were randomly capitalized letters strewn throughout Defoe’s work. It wasn’t the morose nature of the writing and the morbid topic that is/was the bubonic plague. What it was that made me struggle against the journal was the bombardment of statistics that Defoe used as a sta [...]

0 Comments

I must say Journal of The Plague was a difficult book to get into. Goodness knows I didn't retain all the information the book offered. I'm not even sure I remember what HF did for a living and his age. Where were the characters to relate with or atleast analyze? I was hoping the book would be like an earlier version of Geraldine Brooks' A Year of Wonder.  The endless repetition of facts that often seemed to have already been covered was incredibly frustrating and truth me be told, after the fi [...]

0 Comments

There’s been a lot of discussion on the blog so far about the way that Journal of the Plague Year mixes fact and fiction in ways that make it difficult to classify, and this made me start thinking about this, too.  It is so interesting that Defoe tried to pass this book off as non-fiction, and was actually fairly successful for some time (although maybe that part is not too surprising, since he was really good at adding authenticity through his use of statistics, etc.).  What I wanted to kno [...]

0 Comments

I am still reading the Plague Year Journal. It is interesting but repetitive and a chore to read. The title is misleading. People who write journals keep dates because it is a journal, a chronicle of events that have happened over time. The capitals still annoy me and there is no white space. Does anyone know why some of the words start with a capital letter? I'm curious about some of the descriptions of the people infected. Defoe writes about their swellings, that, "In some, those Swellings wer [...]

1 Comments

Timothy Morton has written a powerful essay in “Romanticism and Disaster,” illuminating, not only the disasters of the Romantic Era, but those prior and those present. Focusing on one aspect of his writing for the purpose of my response is very difficult because I would like to spend time developing my thoughts on many points that he raises. I especially relate to his statement comparing the individual’s inability to think in the presence of disaster to the paralysis of “the deer in [...]

1 Comments

I was watching a show the other night in which a celebrity was being interviewed. The conversation turned to a friend who had recently passed away, and the interviewee immediately reconciled the death by saying something to the effect of “God has a plan for all of us.” I’ve heard this line of reasoning many times under different circumstances, but it never seems to make any more sense to me no matter how many times I hear it. Different people deal with situations in various ways, but phras [...]

3 Comments

In the past week I've thought a lot about what would happen if a plague epidemic of some sort broke out tomorrow. I know this is unlikely to happen because of modern medicine. I also know it wouldn't be the bubonic plague since there are occasional cases in United States but doctors now know how to treat it click here. But I can't help but to think about what would happen if some sort of illness caused thousands of deaths every day in an American city. According to World Health Organization, [...]

2 Comments

I read Journal of the Plague Year quite some time ago, and the feeling of impending doom that it could happen just as easily to us has always stayed with me. The film, Contagion really brought that into vivid focus for me. I am not trying to sound as if I am a crazy hypochondriac (which I sometimes am) but I do think about viruses and the fact that the ones our scientists are killing seem to be growing and mutating. I recently read about this new form of a type of AIDS that only affects people o [...]

0 Comments

Of all the ways Daniel Defoe describes the panic and pain of the plague, the most horrifying thing that I read were the charts of the death counts that he uses throughout the book.  A lot of times when I’m reading books with charts in them—perhaps from the long history of unnecessary graphs and images in textbooks that just get skimmed over—it’s very easy to see the numbers and figures and simply glaze over them, just seeing the number, and thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot, but not real [...]

3 Comments

http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/roundtable/the-zombie-apocalypse-of-daniel-defoe.php   In the Lapham’s Quarterly article “The Zombie Apocalypse of Daniel Defoe,” Andrew Stott writes that the “real plague” was modern life.  Stott writes, “Physicians trace the disease to a package of silks imported from Holland that originated in the Levant, spreading the infection through the ports, mills, marketplaces and manufactories that form the early-modern economy.”  T [...]

2 Comments

There's a lot to be said about morality here in Defoe's Journal. Defoe includes many stories that criticize the  capricious nature of the "Christian" God (blaspheme and I will strike you down kinda thing). Whether God is praised or not doesn't matter -- science does. Although I'm sure Defoe doesn't really understand the science of the Plague (no one did), he is definitely tearing holes into his society's view on religion. An example of this criticism is found in the narrator's information o [...]

0 Comments

Journal of the Plague Year was certainly not what I was expecting, especially in structure. Perhaps it is simply because I am not used to reading literature like this but I felt that the way it was put together was a bit distracting. First of all I had expectations because of the word, journal, included in the title. I was expecting the story to be broken up by journal entries. Instead, I found a constant story that was not even broken up by chapters. I wonder what that is supposed to imply or w [...]

0 Comments

I was traveling yesterday, and saw a sign posted in front of a country church out in the middle of nowhere. It read "FEAR--False Evidence Appearing Real." While the meaning the church was going for, I assume, applied to some religious lesson, it struck me that the acronym could apply to much of what we've talked about in class (in fact, most of it). From IRL to clouds and statistics in Plague Year, we've looked at how possibilities affect our affect and cause terror. And most of it stems from [...]

2 Comments

Blake and Picture Books It’s common knowledge that Blake’s written word has had unparalleled success over the last two centuries. What is less known is the influence his art and illuminated printing have had in the modern age in, albeit, a less academic setting than normally seen. The pictures associated with Biblical texts and more celebrated works such as his Marriage of Heaven and Hell and The Song of Innocence/Experience are well-received works of art but the notion of pictures with s [...]

0 Comments

There were three articles in the New York Times Sunday Review yesterday that were written for me – and you. The first, “Escaping One’s Shadow,” is an editorial on how a cross-genre writer struggles to write beyond his daily “structural priming.” In other words, the patterns we create by our daily habits – writing habits, speaking habits, routine daily life habits, etc., unconsciously inform and shape our automatic responses. Write lingo and jargon all day at your desk job, write li [...]

1 Comments

After looking at much of William Blake's work, I am filled with emotion, and I do not think Blake would want this to be on accident. Blake was obviously into creating very vivid images, full of color and wonder, to make the viewer not only examine his images further, but keep those images with us for quite some time after viewing the images. I love his use of color, and blending images into each other. The images from The Daughters of Albion are particularly inspiring, the images at first look b [...]

1 Comments

“Graphic design as a profession is new,” said author and designer Ellen Lupton, “but graphic design is not new as an activity.” This is certainly evident when viewing William Blake’s Illuminated Books. His interweaving of text, image, and color represent a thoughtful, calculated design and presentation, what Lupton called “packaging ideas.” In an interview conducted by Debbie Millman for the radio show “Design Matters,” Lupton says things that often seemed to be an echo of the [...]

1 Comments

Is It Time to Start Vaporizing Poets Now? I have just read Blake’s biography of his early years and his apprenticeship with James Basire, engraver to the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Society. I thought an interesting point into Blake’s character was when he referred to Basire’s rivals, William Woollett and Robert Strange as “Heavy lumps of Cunning and Ignorance” because they had slighted his employer, Basire. Blake was obviously loyal, patient and clever to defend the man he [...]

3 Comments

William Blake was a man of vision. He seemed to be embedded in a realm that some could not agree with, as evident in his letter to Dr. John Trusler. He told the Dr. that his eye was perverted by looking at too many caricature prints. Blake saw beyond what his corporeal eye beheld in the natural world. He saw into the spirit realm, even from a young age, seeing angels in trees. What he said to the Dr. is so true, that, "The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a gre [...]

0 Comments

I’m sure that I must have read some of William Blake’s poetry before this class, long ago when I was an undergraduate English major (so long ago that one of my favorite stories to tell about that time is the day that one of our professors gave us an assignment to go to the computer lab and “find out what that new internet thing everyone keeps talking about has to say about Chaucer and report back to the class next week”.  She’d never used the internet before, but almost none of us had [...]

1 Comments

When I listened to Debbie Millman’s interview with Ellen Lupton, I was struck by how much I actually enjoyed the conversation. I won’t lie, when I first opened the page I wasn’t too keen on enduring an hour-long interview on design. I was surprised not only at how easily I was able to sit through the whole thing but also by how much I found myself relating the topics Millman and Lupton were discussing with those we’ve read about and discussed in class. There were a few different place [...]

1 Comments

Initially I began writing this blog by including things that I thought I should be writing about instead of what I actually thought. Once I realized I was doing that I got a little mad at myself. That is exactly what we have been characterizing as “bad” writing all semester in Composition and Rhetoric. So let me try this again... Honestly, I am feeling so uninspired this week. I don’t think that’s how I’m supposed to be feeling. Aren’t Blake’s poems supposed to inspire people? I [...]

0 Comments

Appealing to one’s sensory details is definitely something that is hard to do as a writer and an artist.  In class we have been talking a lot about the affect something has on someone.  I find Blake’s work to be probably the first work that has actually affected me in the way we have discussed in class.  Not only are Blake’s words powerful, but his images are too.  It’s so hard to look at one of Blake’s images and not be affected in a way. In Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven [...]

0 Comments

Morton argues that Shelley purports that "human being is and has been a disaster" (9). But because there exists this subject of ecological disasters, I think that, with a completely non-violent view of the world, the logical thing to surmise is that humans cannot exist in one. As Blake put it, "They are the evil they see" (11).  The disaster is already here and has been here for a couple thousand years, maybe a few more. But humans have not existed for as long as dinosaurs (that we know abou [...]

0 Comments

I know we have a lot to talk about with the design and Blake links Dr. Boyle gave us, but I'm still curious about that article last week: Romanticism and Disaster. The first paragraph hooked me because whenever I hear someone get that distance, masturbating look as they murmur what they think is an insightful new idea, "This world...it's really coming to end" makes me scoff. Not because I think humans as a species or the planet earth is free from disaster and no matter what we will be here tom [...]

0 Comments

Dealing this week in the Ellen Lupton interview and the Blake Archives reminded me of something. I control not only what I write, but how I write. I've looked at writing product (for lack of a better word) from more than one side--I've edited, and I've been edited. I can tell you which one I prefer, as do most writers. To spend hours writing a piece only to have it edited down to 8 inches worth of newsprint sucks, by any definition, like a Hoover. It's no picnic for the editor either, having [...]

1 Comments

I conducted a little experiment. When I read Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell for the first time, I read it from the back of the book, the "text only" version.  I read  it aloud and with little distraction other than the occasional forays to the stove to continue coaxing my dinner to life.  I laughed in some places, bristled in others, grunted admiringly in yet others, and felt, at times, pleasure in the imagery of the words if not always understanding their meaning. Enough pictures c [...]

1 Comments

Yep, somehow I got sucked into the “Voice of the Devil” section – go figure. Possibly because it made so much sense to me. Here’s what Blake writes: All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following Errors. 1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul. 2. That Energy, call'd Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, call'd Good, is alone from the Soul. 3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies. But the foll [...]

2 Comments

After discovering Blake's images, much of the watercolors used to create much of Disney's animation seems dull and flat. I think Blake was ahead of his time in that he was able to create such vivid images of pain and suffering. The fascinating thing about much of his work though, is that it is depressing and dark, but if one does not know the correlating poem or story behind the images they could almost be mistaken for erotic and passionate. I think this is the most intriguing emotion when I am [...]

2 Comments

So Maybe God Isn’t the One Telling Us to be Patient? Any attempt to understand the meaning of Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell would be futile without some knowledge of his relationship with Joseph Priestly and Thomas Paine, who were considered leading radicals during that time. Watching the apathy of Americans in light of the outrageous behavior of our government over the years has led me to feel warmth and fondness toward radicals; therefore, I am fond of Blake even with my l [...]

0 Comments

After labeling my blog last week “Uninspired,” I can’t believe I’m about to write that I actually really enjoyed reading The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. With that said, I’m struggling about what to write in this blog. I’m not religious. Actually, I don’t believe in God. This is something that I don’t really ever tell people. I don’t write or talk about religion too often because I don’t want to offend anyone. However, I feel like this week, I have to write about religion. [...]

1 Comments

The problem of evil and why it exists in the world is something that people have grappled with for years. Some people cite free will, others defer to God on the issue, and still others are content to leave it a mystery. Finding motivation for an evil act is difficult, as is finding the reason for inexplicable evil that seems to be beyond our control. I found myself taking these responses a step further when reading Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.” Could it be possible, I wondered [...]

1 Comments

When we were talking about DIY and Blake last week, I didn't realize that his DIY publishing was on such a small scale—our Blake book notes that only 9 copies of the Marriage of Heaven and Hell even exist.  And it’s amazing to me that a book which he only printed nine copies of managed to be so influential that it is still read today—somehow the message did not get lost.  I think this is so interesting, considering how comparatively easy it is for anyone to self-publish a book, especi [...]

1 Comments

Blake is a bit heavy handed. The "Marriage of Heaven and Hell" is really extreme and very radical. In the 15th section/page, Blake recounts a dream of being in a printing house in hell. The animals he relates, and I may be wrong, seem to relate to continental regions: Dragon for Asia, Viper for South America, Eagle for North America, and Lion for Europe. Blake's writings were not as much religiously charged as they were political. Even at the end when he appeals to Albion, he's speaking of Engla [...]

1 Comments

I've really enjoyed the conversation that the angel had with the devil in the flame of fire. I don't think Blake took anything at face value and therein lies his genius. He is deconstructing organized religon. Go Blake! He attacks self-righteousness. Adam wanted to be like God and look where that got him. Jesus healed on the sabbath day, that was not legal. He spared the woman caught in adultery when legally she should have died. Without evil, how can we know what good is? God created evil, in t [...]

0 Comments

Angels and Demons/Blake vs. The Screwtape Letters- A.Lesh Throughout the Marriage of Heaven and Hell, we are constantly reminded that the devil, and his followers, are/were angels and have only become devils due to their decision. The angelic notion that the beings of hell were once the feathery concepts which our human minds conceive to be the messengers of heaven is something that is hidden through much of society, then, now and most assuredly in the future. Blake’s depictions differ grea [...]

0 Comments

In getting ready to present this material, I felt the need to do a good amount of outside research.  One of the things that I stumbled upon was the importance of names in not just this piece, but in all of Blake’s work.  Especially in “Visions of the Daughters of Albion,” though, Blake’s names reflect some of the other ideas that we’ve talked about in class regarding the monstrous, even though this is a story of human repression, pain, and suffering. Mainly, I’m talking about th [...]

1 Comments

“…he was a true poet and of the Devils party without knowing it.” Blake writes the above observation about Milton.  Throughout this entire work there was not one line which stood out more and had more passion and desire than the above line.  Although still wrestling with this one line, I must say I find it a bit humorous.  Milton lived his entire life worried that he was not going to end up in heaven.  His works (almost every single one) directly discuss the fact that he feels he ha [...]

0 Comments

It can be seen that Blake is portraying evil as energy, and something that is there to be compared to good. I notice that throughout "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" there are images of fire, water, and clouds. "But now from between the black and white spiders a cloud and fire burst and rolled through the deep, blackening all beneath, so that the nether deep grew black as a sea and rolled with a terrible noise." The images that Blake created for this particular part appear to be peaceful. Th [...]

0 Comments

Blake's images were so ahead of his time. In fact, many of them resemble images found in a modern day graphic novel. His use of color, specifically, seems to be very contemporary. There is also a lot of contrast between light and dark, often portraying images of dark versus light colors, and fire versus water. After looking at the digital archives, I saw images that were the same, yet were done in different colors. One would be ligher, while the other darker. This can easily allow for different [...]

0 Comments

Was Blake crazy or a pioneer? William Wordsworth made a comment about Blake and his visions: “There was no doubt that this poor man was mad, but there is something in the madness of this man which interests me more than the sanity of Lord Byron and Walter Scott.” Blake was an amazing, passionate man who dedicated himself to perfecting two arts – writing and etching – and using the vehicles to share his voice, his views, his opinions. Blake was a renaissance man who recognized the sin [...]

2 Comments

The great thing about blogging is that I have time to edit my thoughts. That doesn't happen in the classroom, and I've never been accused of having a filter that works well to corral them. So when I said in class that Blake was the ultimate argument for "Don't medicate me," everyone laughed, and we had a light moment. But it wasn't really a light moment for at least two of us. So let me clarify, please. Background: I took the long road here. And what a long, strange trip it's been. Suffice it [...]

2 Comments

For this week I chose to read “Modernizing Blake’s Text: Syntax, Rhythm, Rhetoric” by David Fuller. The idea of editing Blake’s works is fascinating to me because it something I had never considered before. I just assumed someone took an illuminated book, made a copy of it, and then transcribed it for printing. A process that took little to no thought. However, I realized this is not the case at all. There are many, many decisions that go into editing Blake. The part I want to focus o [...]

0 Comments

I realized I missed on Blake last week. I'll post for this week tomorrow. But as for before, I had written a bunch of stuff, but brought it to class for discussion without posting. And as we covered it class, I hate to be redundant, so I'll take Blake in a different direction with another writer I'm reading. Apologies. I doubt anyone will still read this, but just in case. I'd like to introduce a contemporary poet, Anno Birkin. Well, almost contemporary. He died at the age of 20 back in 2001. [...]

4 Comments

Did Blake anticipate the hypermedia games and virtual environments of today when he designed his work The Songs of Innocence and of Experience?  According to Joseph Byrne, author of "Blake's Contraries Game," Blake did just that.  Byrne says that Blake, through multimedia (text and images), textual interactivity (referencing a work from the Songs of Innocence in a work from the Songs of Experience or vice versa, inviting us to compare), agency and role-playing (nurse, little girl lost, chimne [...]

0 Comments

Only an Optimist Would Think We Could Understand a Genius I admit to being completely impressed with Blake on so many levels and I hate that the difficulties of editors in reproducing his genius denied so many readers the ability to experience his work as he intended. First, he was an eighteenth century artist who had the foresight and the vision to want to start a “media revolution” through his work. Secondly, he was seen as a political radical with ideas that challenged long-stand [...]

1 Comments

I chose to read this article from the Editing and Reading Blake book because I wanted to find out more about the way that documents were added to the Blake Archive.  Even though I’m a librarian, archives are definitely not my area of expertise.  I don’t actually know all that much about how digital archive texts are produced or edited, even though I spend a lot of time helping people find them and use them.  I thought there was some really cool stuff to think about in this article. I u [...]

0 Comments

David Fuller’s essay “Modernizing Blake’s Text: Syntax, Rhythm, Rhetoric” explains the many difficulties editors face in reproducing Blake’s work. One idea that struck me early and often in Fuller’s argument is that editing Blake’s work, or anyone else’s for that matter, is far from an easy task. Given Blake’s use of punctuation, the scope of his themes, and the convergence of text and images, it seems very hard to decide how to go about this process. It seemed like Fuller was [...]

0 Comments

Decorations and Endnotes A few people that read this will already know I have an affinity for David Foster Wallace. I love the stylings in both his fiction and non-fiction, both essays and stories, both body and footnotes. He has some eccentricities in his writing that I’ve grown to thoroughly enjoy, some idiosyncrasies that may seem a little disjointed in parts of his writing (Notably a winking emoticon as an endnote in “Infinite Jest” placed just for the sake of making the reader work [...]

0 Comments

I never even realized that Blake is considered an editor’s nightmare until I read David Fuller’s essay on modernizing and editing Blake.  What a mess that must be!  It’s sad to think that event the version that we are reading in our book could not even encompass Blake’s original intentions.  I’m not even sure if at this point in the modernization of Blake we have an idea of Blake’s original intentions. Fuller writes, “Moreover, despite Blake's own insistence on the expressive [...]

1 Comments

Just from reading this article about the history of Blake, I can see the future of Blake playing out in some very interesting ways. As much as I am usually very against virtualizing literature, this is one genre I think could have some profound advancements in my lifetime. I can imagine every classroom not too far into the future having a Minority Report set-up with high-tech, virtualized versions of Blake's plates that are totally manipulatable and "hands-on" if that phrase still applies in [...]

1 Comments

This article compares Blake's Archive to a living text or the living word. Blake mentions in his works a "Golgonooza," which can be an anagram of the Greek "the living word." The author considers Blake's Archive as a way to intersect "possibilities for living form" (para. 5). This article discusses the different abilities scholars have to analyze Blake's texts and images through digital media and tools. Through the archive, images/plates can be examined side by side or one on top of the other. T [...]

1 Comments

William Blake was obviously ahead of his time, many can see that and are inspired by his riveting poetry and art-work. But in reading Joseph Byrne's "Digital Designs on Blake" he proposes that it is possible that William Blake may have imagined a textual and virtual way of looking at his work. He goes on comparing the sort of digital and virtual world that we KNOW Blake wanted us to reach for, and compares this desire of mind expansion to video games. Byrne says, "When William Blake futurity saw [...]

0 Comments

Okay, so just a comment on the fact that I read ALL of the articles about Blake design for last week. I was driven to that much more by the fact that I am overworked and didn't slow down enough to read the syllabus properly than by my quest for knowledge (or overachieving, Denise). I am not that driven, folks. That out of the way, I have to say it was nice to see how all of the voices overlapped when talking about design. I especially related to the concept that digital archiving is not just [...]

0 Comments

My son asked me today “Who are the real superheroes besides Spiderman and Batman?” and gave me a piece of paper so I could write them down for him. Okay.. a “real” superhero would be.. Mother Teresa? Bill Gates? Last week, I read “Digital Designs on Blake – Blake’s Contraries Game.” It was essentially an essay on Blake’s visionary creativity, and his artistic mission “creating tools to help cleanse the reader’s ‘doors of perception,’ to bring him/her to enlightenment [...]

0 Comments

When we talked about the Journal of the Plague Year, we tried to think of ways that our society would act differently if there were another plague outbreak, and we really couldn't think of any.  We have far more medical and media advancements, but really, human fear has remained the same throughout at least the last three centuries. I think, in the same way that Defoe is able to really capture and generalize human fear in ways that are really frightful, Wollstonecraft gets the undercutting [...]

1 Comments

Writing the truth about injustice is always accomplished with serious consequences to the author, but in my opinion women who advocate equality with men suffer the most. Men, who are political radicals, often face economic hardships and alienation from those in power as punishment by those who oppose their unconventional positions, but they can usually count on the moral support, at the very least, of the segment of society they are championing. On the other hand, women, like Mary Wollstonecraft [...]

0 Comments

When I was reading Mary Wollstonecraft’s essay, I couldn’t help thinking about my mother and the stories she would tell my sister and I about how lucky we were that so much about the world had changed since her own childhood.  She’d tell us stories about little things that shocked us, like girls not being allowed to wear pants to school when she was a child, and bigger, scarier things, too, like the way that her father wouldn’t let her move out of their house until she was married becau [...]

0 Comments

!0/24/2012 Post for British Lit Two Radical Women Writers As we shift from the virtual images of expanding one’s mind, as Blake intended, we cross over into equal mind altering territory (for the time anyway). We explore social class and irony in the novel with Jane Austen pioneering this new style. The Norton states, “Austen’s example is so central to what the novel as a form has become that it can be difficult from our present-day vantage point to recognize the iconoclasm in her dep [...]

0 Comments

Modernization of Text Fuller argues that modernizing the text of William Blake is a double-edged sword. He states that, “Modernizing the accidentals of Blake's text involves some losses. It also offers important gains.” Despite what we (me included) might think, Blake is far from perfect. He misplaces punctuation, uses strange syntax, throws in full stops, and, sometimes, makes the language more difficult than it has to be.  His consistency is lacking in all of these points and the moder [...]

0 Comments

As hinted to on pages 514 and 515, women during Austen’s lifetime were almost forced to marry. They had limited rights and depended on a man for security. If a woman did not marry (such as Austen) she was forced to either live with her parents or take on menial jobs that barely paid her enough to survive. Because of this harsh reality, I think it’s very interesting the way Austen depicts marriage in Love and Freindship. Austen writes that both Laura and Sophia were very happy in their mar [...]

0 Comments

One morning this week, listening to an update on NPR on the condition of the young Pakistani woman who was shot in the head by the Taliban for continuing to pursue her education after being warned to stop, I imagined Mary Wollstonecraft returning from the dead just in time to hear that news.  I imagined she’d think things had only gotten worse for women.  I’d ask her to stick around long enough to hear stories by female correspondents and stories about women in positions of power, women in [...]

3 Comments

Boy I understand Wollstoncraft. I think from her upbringing she could not help but be an iconoclast. As children, my siblings and I used to try and shield my mother from the beatings my stepfather gave her. I was the one to run to the neighbors house to call the police, always wondering if I'd get beat when I arrived back home. Wolstencraft saw injustice at a young age and spent her life trying to liberate women. It does something to your psyche, seeing your mother beaten at a young age. [...]

0 Comments

I think much of what Mary Wollstonecraft discusses in “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” can still be considered valid today. Unfortunately, even though years pass, people’s attitudes do not always evolve with the times. Many different groups of people have been subject to negative treatment over the years, and even if the perpetrators represent a minority of the population, they still exist. One section that I really gravitated toward was between pages 177 and 178 where Wollstonecraft [...]

0 Comments

I wrote this two weeks ago, but when I didn't see it on the forms, I found I never clicked published. Apologies. But I had an interesting experience over the last week that made me add to this. We're on Mary and Jane now (lol), but first a little more Blake (can't escape his influence) Growing in a family that wasn't against technology, but getting everything a few years later, makes me desire to always consider different opinions on its evolution. I appreciated not having a cell phone or the [...]

0 Comments

I love how A Vindication of the Rights of Woman opens up so simple and a matter of fact. She's not exactly tearing down the walls of thought with revolution. She's stating that we live life unfairly, and that she wants what men are given in life too. Maybe not so much that she wants it, but declaring, "Hey wait a minute...that is mine too." It kind of reminds of the Euripides play Medea. It's really hard to see the murdering mother as a mad woman, or even a woman with her priorities mixed up. [...]

0 Comments

Hi. My name is Pam, and I'm a word nerd. As such, I get all geeky about my content area; I recite Shakespeare to my students; I give them Latin equivalents for common phrases; I read obscure texts on my own time. I spend WAY too much time working. I spend way too much time thinking about work. And I love it, unashamedly, unabashedly, unequivocably love it. So Wollstonecraft and I are on the same wavelength. Not only about education and learning. Her approach to writing works for me: "These p [...]

1 Comments

Outline of project- I hope this is what is meant by summary of project I’m going to write about Godzilla. That’s it, just Godzilla……… I might include some things like how Judith Halberstam’s theory about Gothic monstrosity and how different aspects of terror and horror are connected to the great green dinosaur. In doing this I would obviously include fear of foreign involvement/xenophobia with the connection to the nuclear strike carried out by the Americans. In addition to that f [...]

2 Comments

For my final in English 628, I'm tracing Stephen King's use of Gothic elements in his novel 'Salem's Lot.  The novel tells the story of what happens when the vampire Barlow, with the aid of his human thrall Straker, moves to the small Maine town of Jerusalem's Lot in the late 1970s and begins dining on its citizens. Barlow sets up shop in the Marsten House, a place that's stood vacant since the 1930s when a murder/suicide occurred there. For decades it's been the house kids ran past, the one t [...]

1 Comments

Think of Americans and be reminded of the spirit of the early settlers, those rugged pioneers who came to build a nation on uncharted land. They survived the horrors of the long trip across the ocean with sick and dying fellow passengers only to land in the coldest part of the country and face a winter where yet more people died of dysentery, malnutrition, and exposure. Certainly, they had fears; of wild animals, Indian up-risings, and more sickness, and later: Salem witches. But were they g [...]

1 Comments

I’m not sure if this is really a good outline or even a good summary of my project, but I’ll tell you a little bit more about what I am thinking of here. I wasn’t sure at all what to do for my project, so I went through all of the blog posts that I’d written and looked to see if there were any themes between all of them that I could look into further.  I pulled out a lot of quotes that I’d used from the works that we’ve been reading because I noticed that a lot of them were things a [...]

3 Comments

Could our desire to further modernize our world cause a modern plague? What about a virtual plague?   This is what the main structure I would like my seminar paper to be based around.  I would like to focus primarily on the virtual using Defoe’s novel.  Expanding on that, I would like to discuss how the constant strive to modernize things could actually be the reason why things become tainted (ex. Why the plague occurred in the first place).   I wrote in one of my posts [...]

2 Comments

First, I would like to say a little bit about Edgar Huntly, it’s taking me a lot longer to read it than I expected. For some reason I had to idea that I would be able to fly through it, but so far that hasn’t happened. Anyways, about my project... I came into class last week with two ideas. One involved editing Blake, but I was afraid it would be too overdone. The other was to look at the accuracy of The Plague Year. I felt like either topic would be perfect for me because I love editi [...]

2 Comments

I’m still in the early stages so I haven’t really picked out what texts I’m going to look at but I guess this is just a very basic outline. When considering ideas for this project, I thought about fear and how it is used in many of these texts. The concept of physical scariness is easy enough to see in the Gothic works and essential to the story in many cases, but there also appears to be an omnipresent level of mental fear. The writers seem to be trying to embed this fear in the reader [...]

0 Comments

So, I'm really going full nerd over this Silent History concept. Not only are the testimonials for the narrative arc amazing, the flash fiction, serial release is right up my alley. (The two pieces I've published so far have been flash.) It seems a natural fit that I grab onto that for my semester project, and so I've decided to create a field report for submission. Will it be a stretch for me? Sure. I don't "do" fiction. But I am an avid reader in every genre, and I'm taking this fiction wor [...]

0 Comments

Despite what the famous film and television versions of Mary Shelley's Frankestein show, the creature in her novel was not a dead criminal rasied from the dead, but a collection of bodies brought together in scientific discovery and experiment. This may seem like an insignificant detail. Or perhaps it is the wise choice of the filmmakers to not show something the audience couldn't bear (instead an at best bruised Robert Deniro or almost cute Boris Karloff). But it can also be said that films may [...]

0 Comments

I'm going to stick with the idea of creating a monster with make-up tricks and prosthetics to create an entirely new human-monster who (hopefully) will end up being a representation of an amalgam of everything we have found "horrifying" in the last couple hundred years.  I will definitely be doing the majority of the work out of class; however, I may be able to do a brief in-class presentation with a real model.  I'll just have to see how quick I can get at even a few techniques.   [...]

0 Comments

One idea that interested me near the beginning of the semester was the death of the book. This is certainly something that people actually fear, and something that seems to be possible with the ever increasing use of technology. I recently read a book that was set in Nazi Germany entitled The Book Thief. This book describes one girl’s journey to literacy and how she dealt with a shortage of books. She witnessed book burnings, read to others in her community after learning how to read herself, [...]

0 Comments

For my final project, I will explore fiction as a form of virtual reality. The term “virtual reality” is most often used to describe computer-simulated environments that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world, as well as in imaginary worlds (Wikipedia). But a virtual reality can also be a simulated environment, created by words that invoke images in our minds and allow us to participate in a story – this is called fiction. Back in the day, people read books to transcen [...]

1 Comments

I was very fascinated with the discussion last week with the evolving role of character once novels came onto the scene. Characters as plot rather than the way we make them now...except when we give into undaring archetypes with every other Hollywood Blockbuster/New York Times Bestseller. But seriously, the gestures in Romanticism characters' language must have been moving in the deep ways as new eras and inventions are for us right now. I remember once teaching the Exodus story with an element [...]

0 Comments