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Theory Thursday 6/23

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If we end up doing most of the research by human abilities, what are the advantages of digitising scholarship in the humanities-- like actually using the digital medium to delve into scholarship from a different angle-- when the results that we get may not be as accurate or as specific as we want them to be?

Questions I want to ask with my project

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Reading up on my project this week, it's become pretty clear to me that something that's relevant to my project is the practice of quotation in 18th century novels. I've come to the conclusion that I want to expand my project to cover not only Shakespearean quotations in epigraphs, but references to Shakespeare in-text. Through my project, I would like to explore references to Shakespeare both in-text and in epigraphs to explore the culture of quotation in the eighteenth century.

Progress report #2: A bit of background on how we treat Shakespeare

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So today, I decided to catch up on some reading. To recap from my first post about my project: I am looking into the occurrence of Shakespearean epigraphs in 18th century novel-- why they occur, how they occur, and if there is any correlation between the treatment of the novel in the 18th century, and the Shakespearean play.

To explore this thoroughly, a few questions need to be answered. Firstly; why Shakespeare? It's clear that the majority of the epigraphs we come across in the 18th century are taken from some Shakespearean play, so I want to find out about how Shakespeare was treated in this century, and the influence of his works. To do this, I am reading "Shakespeare and the Eighteenth Century" to get some more background that could help me find the correlation between the novel and the Bard in the eighteenth century.

Turns out that the way Shakespeare was viewed in the literary world of the eighteenth century is pretty similar to the way we think of humanities scholarship in the world of academia today-- characterised by reimagining and reworking something that already exists into something new, to establish that field of interest by exploring it from a different angle. Peter Sabor and Paul Yachnin go into great detail in the introduction of "Shakespeare and the Eighteenth Century" to outline just how much the reception of Shakespeare changed between the time he was alive, and after his death. They describe an enormous rise in receptions to Shakespearean texts, congruent to the rise of the novel, and the more I read about the practice of establishing the authority of Shakespeare, the more I am interested to see what kinds of connections I can make between Shakespeare and the novel.

I've already compiled a partial list of the novels that contain Shakespearean epigraphs, so, moving forward, I want to start getting the OCR versions of these texts so I can topic model them against the epigraphs later.

SCETI Visit Thoughts

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High quality, high tech, made me think-- are the books treated as art, literature, or objects in SCETI?

To epigraph, or not to epigraph-- that's my Question

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My project this summer has brought me to the intersection of two aspects of my research-- END, and Shakespeare. Shakespeare, as you guys know, is a massive interest of mine, a lifelong passion project that I can't wait to explore using the tools inherent to digital humanities.

What I plan to do is a project involving Shakespearean epigraphs and the 18th century novel. Using the data we have from our 591 detailed, I want to see if there is a thematic or textual correlation between the epigraph and the novel itself. One of the questions that a lot of Shakespearean DH scholars are posed is, "why Shakespeare?", and for my purposes, the answer right now is because we have the biggest sample size of epigraphs attributed to Shakespeare. Somewhere along the way, I want to see if I can't link performances of the Shakespearean plays in the 18th century to the number of times they occur in epigraphs in the 18th century. So far, I found a book called "Shakespeare and the Eighteenth Century Novel: Cultures of Quotation from Samuel Richardson to Jane Austen", so things look promising!

Almoran and Hamet

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Blogged and posted-- there's a lot interesting about this book, especially in the errata

Dialogues of the Dead: The Dublin Print Project

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Just finished my blog post on Dialogues of the Dead that catalogued earlier on in the session and found a bunch of misspellings in the running title. Lots of interesting differences between the books, check them out:

Cell phones, Databases, and the Ends of Cinematic Narrative (Session 8)

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This was a really compelling panel about metadata in cinema and TV, outlining a digital humanities project, not too unlike END, that catalogues the metadata of films and shows. The project was inspired by research into the representations of cell phones and smart phones in cinema; should one break the cinematic narrative of a film by using phones in film, or sacrifice the reality of the cinematic universe you create by omitting cell phone usage all together, even if your film is distinctly set in the future? This prompted Justin Eyster and John Hunter to compile an alternate movie database that could be manipulated by the user, to provide metadata that wouldn’t be searchable on other movie databases (e.g. IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes). The database itself is still under construction, but with the 50 movies that have already been catalogued, users can search for terms such as “death”, and pull up a list of movies that mention “death” in the dialogue, including the time frame in which the line containing “death” is said, a screenshot with closed caption subtitles of the exact moment, and metadata of 20 seconds before and after “death” to provide context for the word. The spectrum for movies containing “death” in its script ranges from action movies like “The Matrix”, to animated comedies like “Kung-Fu Panda”. Through its metadata, the database that Hunter and Eyster have complied finds connections between movies beyond their core aspects. I did think one of the points they failed to refocus on after touching on it in the beginning was the use of cell phones in cinema, which was a shame; I was really looking forward to hearing about their findings on cell phone usage and its relationship to cinematic narrative. Another point that I raised was whether representations of Skype in film affected the cinematic narrative in the same ways cell phones did— for example, the BBC America series, “Orphan Black” extensively uses cell phones and video calls throughout the show. The speaker, although admitting he was unable to answer the question, agreed that this was a point worth considering. I also wonder how the use of the cell phone affects the cinematic narrative when cell phone interaction IS the cinematic narrative, such as in movies like “Her” (Spike Jonze, 2013). Overall, though, I thought this was a thoroughly engrossing presentation, and I’m very excited to see where this database goes.

My plan for the week

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I haven't really been able to work on my personal project, because I was especially busy with the website last week. This week, I plan to finally start working on my project. Today, I'm going to have to spend a bit of time compiling an annotated bibliography, and after that's done, I'll have a much better grasp on what the key factors I need to explore in Dublin. It'll probably take me a while to complete this, but while I'm at it, I'll try and look at some titles and see differences n Dublin and England editions of books

Personal Project: Looking at Dublin Publishing

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Publishing is an industry that experienced a significant boom in the 18th century, particularly in Dublin. The lack of copyright laws in this century in particular meant that popular books that were originally published in London were reprinted in Dublin. This project aims to look at the characteristics of books that have been reprinted in Dublin and create a visual representation of the qualities of a popular book in the 18th century, given that the existence of these reprints is a marker of a highly popular book in this time. Steps taken would include creating an annotated bibliography to get a scope of the Dublin printed scene in the 18th century, analysing similar qualities between Dublin reprints, and identifying outliers in Dublin-published books, to create a more comprehensive view of readership in the 1700s.

About the Dublin book trade

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So, from what I can tell, the Dublin publishing scene was actually a new, upcoming, but also rapidly growing industry back in the 1700s. Publishing and book printing had been going on since the 1550s, but the commercialisation of Ireland as a whole in turned into a boom in the print industry, especially increasing the number of unlicensed printers who imported popular novels from England to be reprinted in Ireland. So far, there doesn't seem to be much information on what exactly may have been imported, other than the fact that reprinting as an industry was a major source of income, suggesting that printers may have been willing to reprint anything, and the fact that the copyright laws in the eighteenth century did not extend to Dublin, resulting in the liberal reprinting of many English novels. However, two facts did jump out at me: the first was that the rise in printing happened simultaneously with the rise in the exchange of information within Ireland, in the forms of newspapers,pamphlets, and newsletters; and the second was the rise of the republishing industry in Dublin meant that Irish authors like Goldsmith actually sought to print in London rather than in Ireland. Although the project is still pretty up-in-the-air right now, we can't ignore the fact that the Golden Age of Printing in Dublin is relevant to novels published in the 18th century.

Published in Dublin

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One of the ideas we came up with for a Special Project was using the 260 field to determine which books have been published in Dublin. Dublin editions are usually reprints of novels that are printed elsewhere, so Dublin editions are usually reprints of popular novels. We can thus combine the 260 field with a number of other fields to determine the characteristics of a popular 18th century novel. Some examples include: whether the author is male or female (599), what kinds of paratext is included in the novel (520), the narrative voice of the novel (592), illustrations (300), and whether the novel is a translation from another language (596).

Marginalia and the reader's hand

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Something that's really struck me about all the marginalia I've come across through cataloguing is just how liberal readers were with writing in their own books. Growing up, I know a lot of us were told not to write in books, ESPECIALLY with ink, but here we are, taking notes on the ink markings of someone who owned the book in the 18th century. As scholars of rare books, we value marginalia and extensively note down what we find in the 500-field. So why do we feel an apprehension to writing in books now? Just a thought.

How to tell you're reading a Gothic Novel, by the Guardian: