Note: This version of the log was edited by Laura Mandell in order to make it easier to navigate, and to make it a cleaner text. The unedited version is also available on this site.
Start log: Saturday, June 17, 2000 9:22:20 am Villa Diodati time
Allusion as Hypertext
LauraM says, "Jay, I was fascinated by your use of *Arcadia* in your 115 class."
JayC says, "Thanks."
JayC says, "The students were blocked by the play when they first read it."
Neil says, "I especially like the collaborative editing project."
AtaraS says, "I looked at it this morning"
AtaraS says, "Very cool"
WizSteve says, "That play is so hypertextual already, no?"
JayC says, "They began to enjoy the work when they started explaining it to one another."
RonB agrees with LauraM. "I liked the allusions list and the idea that this can go on for several semesters of students working on material."
JayC says, "The wit is tough for 1st year undergrads."
AtaraS says, "I bet"
JayC says, "And the allusions are tough for everyone."
AtaraS says, "it would really help to see a performance"
TedU says, "But you use the allusions list to make it more accessible."
LauraM says, "My first-year students hated the joke, "So where is it that you don't teach" (Hannah to Bernard)."
TedU says, "In that sense, the emphasis on connectivity isn't just a hypertext issue, but a pedagogical strategy."
JayC says, "Exactly. (to Ted)"
Networked and Well-Read
MichaelES says, "Jay: have you noticed an increase of interest over the last few years, with the increased familiarity of students with the net?"
JayC says, "I find that it is important to teach the medium as well as the content."
RonB says, "and as already mentioned, the play works well with the medium."
JayC says, "Yes, Michael. Several years ago, even undergraduates were hesitant."
AtaraS says, "well, what your students have done is impressive"
JayC says, "Last year, for the first time, everyone came to the class with at least some experience on the Net--usually IM."
Neil says, "could we talk about [the part of Jay's essay on] PatchWork Girl? "
TedU says, "I don't know if this was your intent at all, Jay, but what struck me about your essay was the emphasis on allusions and connectivity -- true on several levels of form and content. From a pedagogical point of view, one good thing about this is that it helps students have the experience of what it feels like to read something in an informed way. What it feels like to be "educated.""
TedU says, "True of Patchwork Girl itself."
WizSteve says, "What did you have in mind, Neil?"
Neil says, "As a text that forces consideration of medium as content"
JayC says, "It does, Ted. It also transforms the concept of intertextuality into something real, not an abstraction. Especially when the students work to put links in themselves."
WizSteve says, "Right. yet on those old floppies!"
Joyce and Eastgate
WizSteve says, "The whole Eastgate moment was so important, yet..."
JayC says, "Explain, 'yet...'"
WizSteve says, "There's a sense in which Joyce et al were from another era."
WizSteve says, "hypertextually speaking. PreWeb."
JayC says, "They started it."
RonB says, "it also gives studens a model for working in hypertext""
WizSteve says, "Have you tried to write in Storyspace [hypertext-making software by Eastgate]?"
JayC says, "When I go to hypertext conferences, much of the work seems in the lineage of Eastgate."
TedU looks confused about Eastgate.
WizSteve says, "...a good way to make students appreciate Patchwork Girl."
JayC says, "No Storyspace for me. I have always constructed everything on the web."
MichaelES says, "would you invite students to write in Storyspace?"
LauraM says, "Yes, what's "Eastgate"?"
WizSteve says, "A software company that published M. Joyce's Afternoon, etc."
WizSteve says, "to Michael "I did, yes, but it's hard now..."
JayC says, "Eastgate publishes Patchwork Girl, too."
WizSteve says, "...because of the platform."
MichaelES says, "the URL is http://www.eastgate.com/catalog/Patchwork.html (for the multi-windows people"
JayC says, "Working on the web seems more practical for the students' lives."
JayC says, "Web hypertext is limited in terms of the maps one can construct, but it's the cyber world we live in."
TedU says, "I think the "practical for the students' lives" part is important."
Neil says, "Jay: have you given any thought to having students construct things such as MOO objects?"
MichaelES says, "how much of your courses have you changed following students' responses/suggestions?"
JayC says, "Yes. Students' experience in Chats makes them natural MOOers."
RonB says, "we live the virtual already. So, it's nice for students to see and construct in it."
LauraM says, "I do think English majors will be writing a lot of web pages -- more than will be going on to grad school."
TedU says, "The connectivity could otherwise be *too* challenging, too much like initiation into a grad school they never plan to enter. But the contemporaneity of the web modifies that."
JayC says, "My students have graduated straight into jobs as web designers."
LauraM says, "mine too"
WizSteve says, "Right. This is media-literacy we owe them, among other things."
AtaraS says, "yep"
JayC says, "I change my courses every semester after student comments."
Reading [as] Hyperfiction
Neil says, "Do you think that they continue to read hyperfiction after the course is over?"
MichaelES says, "do you think they read Romantic works after they're done with the course?"
WizSteve says, "Maybe startrek fan ficiton (I'm thinking of one guy) :->"
RonB says, "one could argue that they read things _as_ hyperfiction, too."
WizSteve says, "Good point, Ron."
JayC says, "Yes, Ron."
AtaraS says, "Fanfic is interesting in its own way of deconstructing the idea of an author, but that's another subject"
Mike says, "Do they read Romanticism as hyperfiction?"
TedU says, "Yes. Do we want them to?"
JayC says, "And they read hypertext increasingly everyday, even when they are not on the computer. Have you noticed the superbowl commercials with multiple visual frames, linking associatively (if linearly) to different moments in the commercial?"
Mike says, "good question"
LauraM says, "Allusiveness is always a kind of hypertext, isn't it?"
WizSteve says, "Fall of Hyperion as First-Person Adventure Game?"
RonB considers the problem of narrative versus associative qualities in Wordsworth's sublime.
JayC says, "I think we very much want to read Rom[antic literature] hypertextually, because, as Laura says, allusion IS hypertext. Reading this way helps us understand how knowledge of the past ACTS in the contemporary world."
Allusion versus Intertextuality
AtaraS says, "What about unconscious allusions?"
WizSteve says, "Right, Artara. Is it allusion or intertextuality?"
RonB says, "Yes, screens and layers of allusion.""
AtaraS says, "I think Romanticism has so pervaded the collective unconsciousness that people allude to it w/out nec. knowing they do."
JayC says, "Intertextuality becomes a better theoretical construct to address questions of Ucs or unintended allusions."
LauraM says, "I wonder how opposed the narrative and the associative actually are: even though they operate in different ways spatially, aren't we always --whenever reading a narrative -- associating as we go along?"
Mike says, "is Romanticism special in this regard?"
LauraM says, "I agree, Atara: in some sense, teaching romanticism is making that unconscious conscious."
AtaraS says, "I think of the Terminator as a Byronic hero, but I don't know if James Cameron has necessarily read the Romantics"
WizSteve says, "But Byron has anticipated him?"
RonB says, "(right Laura, not opposed, more polyphonic)""
AtaraS says, "OTOH, U2's album "Achtung Baby" seems full of allusions to Shelley"
TedU says, "I think the difference is not about authorial consciousness, but about pedagogical (or readerly) purposes."
JayC says, "Yes, Ted."
LauraM says, "can you say more, Ted?"
Mike says, "could you say more there?"
WizSteve lookds to Ted
TedU says, "When you say the Terminator is a Byronic hero, I think you're looking for a different sort of response than sheer recognition of intertextuality."
WizSteve nods expectantly
TedU says, "In fact, it seemed to me that in a sense the point of saying that sort of thing is to forestall a dismissive periodization."
TedU says, "In that sense, it's not about *placing* texts."
RonB says, "more of a rhizomic formation of infections?"
JayC says, "Yes, but also to foreground the problem of periodization, of how allusions (intended or otherwise) live on in the present. By how, I mean what mechanisms of media make them possible, how we recognize and respond to them."
WizSteve says, "& maybe recognizing how texts travel and what happens to them as they do?"
LauraM says, "How do rhizomes/infections differ from allusions exactly? (Maybe because allusions allegedly have origins)."
RonB says, "and work with intentions and building structures rather than deviations and mutations."
LauraM says, "Thanks, Ron, that helps."
Neil says, "I wondered when I ready your essay, Atara, how you deal with issue of class with the Byronic hero."
JayC says, "Exactly"
JayC says, "And subculture, Atara."
AtaraS says, "I try to show *why* an audience would be so intrigued by a Byronic hero"
Goths / Images used in the Classroom
JayC says, "I wanted you to address the issue of students who are Goths, Atara."
AtaraS says, "well, the Goths get it more easily"
AtaraS says, "they're inclined to take a course in Romanticism b/c of their Goth interests"
JayC says, "In Jon Katz's GEEKS, he writes that good teaching can help desperate students. The kind of historical lineage for Goths that Atara provides could help perform this service."
AtaraS says, "I really want to make some kind of visual collage of black-clad broody heroes"
LauraM says, "So history is functioning therapeutically here?"
AtaraS says, "my Goth students are usually pretty cheerful actually. It's a pose for them, and they have a sense of irony about it"
RonB says, "what's also fine about this is the constructed nature of the hero."
JayC says, "Atara, when I make those kind of collages, I run them on a PowerPoint presentation behind me as I lecture."
AtaraS says, "More technology to learn. I need more time!"
JayC says, "College Goths may be better off than High School Goths."
AtaraS says, "Yes."
AtaraS says, "especially because my students tend to be older"
TedU says, "I think this connection might be especially important with Byron, who I find students are eager to dismiss as a brief cultural phenomenon."
JayC says, "Have you thought of doing an outreach program for High School teachers? The teachers would be deeply grateful to see a way to connect to the Goths in their schools."
WizSteve says, "Yes. Not goths necessarily but Geeks are responding to our High School MOO, we notice."
WizSteve says, "See www.rc.umd.edu/rchs/"
Neil says, "We need to make the MOO more brooding as a place, I guess."
WizSteve smiles (broodingly)
JayC says, "Just change your browser settings for darker backgrounds."
TedU says, "Ironic brooding is the best kind."
AtaraS says, "I think the way to make Byron accessible is to show how he, on the one hand, created this brooding hero, but on the other he doesn't take it seriously"
TedU says, "Yes. But students can't get the appeal even of that without seeing how they themselves enjoy the same kind of playacting."
MichaelES says, "do you use contemporary representations of Byron in your class too?"
TedU says, "Which is where your collage comes in."
The Byronic Hero: Contemporary
AtaraS says, "and once I start introducing contemporary descendents of the Byronic Hero, my class starts coming up with more"
JayC says, "Atara, I would like to hear you talk about how you address the different function of Byron images in today's culture from those they served in Romantic period."
AtaraS says, "I brought an Angel action figure to class once. The students loved it. "
RonB says, "Have you tried starting with the contemporary then move to Byron?"
Neil says, "I've recently seen an episode of *Highlander* featuring featuring Byron as an Immortal--and a rock star."
Neil says, "Highlander, I mean."
AtaraS says, "Damn! I've been wanting to see that one for years"
LauraM says, "I've just been reading about Byron's "ennui" and bulimia, and both of those descriptions of him seem to connect him to different periods."
Neil says, "He is a very bad boy. And Shelley is a dork in the show."
AtaraS says, "Rice's Lestat is also a rock star"
JayC says, "Yes. Bulimia clearly meant something different in the 19C"
AtaraS says, "Shelley whines; Byron can laugh at himself"
WizSteve says, "Uhm, there's the class issue..."
AtaraS says, "Can I go back to Jay's question?"
WizSteve says, "...which is why Byron would be hard to place in our era."
TedU looks around for Shelley nervously.
WizSteve shuts up
AtaraS says, "I actually do think that Byron would be a rock star"
Neil says, "I've always used tehe Byron/Elvis comparison in class.he"
Neil says, "whoops!"
AtaraS says, "He's be exceedingly glamorous, but holds a lot of private contempt for his fans"
MichaelES says, "Velvet Goldmine?"
AtaraS says, "the rock star comparisons I tend to make are to Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails"
WizSteve says, "bloody Oasis."
LauraM says, "David Bowie (that dates me)"
Historical Difference: Aristocracy versus Celebrity
JayC says, "Are there no historical differences in the functions that their (Byron/rock star) similar popularity and social stances play in their respective eras?"
Mike says, "good question"
TedU says, "Is celebrity a contemporary equivalent of "the class issue." I think it's close."
AtaraS says, "Jim Morrison, natch!"
Neil says, "I agree with Ted on this."
TedU says, "One reason I do buy Atara's comparison."
WizSteve says, "Byron's moment was when class was just getting confused witih celebrity--right? He helped construct the latter."
TedU agrees with WizSteve.
Discussion with Ted Underwood, "How to Save 'Tintern Abbey' from New-Critical Pedagogy (in Three Minutes and Fifty-Six Seconds)"
Wordsworth and Rock Stars; Individualism and Copyright
MichaelES says, "Ted (moving on the discussion to our third paper): do you see a clear parallel between poet in the 19th century and the 20th-century rock star?"
TedU says, "Not for Wordsworth. For same reasons Steve just articulated."
WizSteve says, "Violent Stimulants."
AtaraS says, "Indeed"
TedU says, "Yes, exactly."
Neil says, "How about for Shelley, Ted?"
WizSteve takes a swig of coffee
LauraM says, "One huge difference is press."
JayC says, "Ted, rock has the same emphasis on authenticity and originality as Wordsworth. But the corporate populism of rock music surely changes things."
AtaraS says, "But fans certainly *want* authenticity, esp. emotional authenticity"
TedU says, "Well, I don't believe either is *really* authentic, if you know what I mean."
AtaraS says, "I think Morrissey of the Smiths is a sort of reincarnation of Shelley"
JayC says, "I also wonder, Ted, about other contemporary music, such as rap, that emphasizes sampling, the postmodern antithesis of originality."
RonB says, "Wordsworth shows the same concern for copyright as Metallica in the MP3 controvesy"
AtaraS says, "I agree, Ted. It's a pose"
WizSteve agrees with RonB
MichaelES says, "rap has often been compared to poetry in France over the years"
JayC says, "Yes, but Wordsworth's copyright was individual."
MichaelES says, "didn't Wordsworth sell his copyrights sometimes too?"
JayC says, "That difference, between the ideology of private property and today's total penetration of capitalism through all aspects of culture, makes copyright more complex."
Students' Use of History: Sameness and Difference
TedU says, "I don't think of myself as comparing rock to Wordsworth, really."
TedU says, "The strategy has more to do with avoiding students' desire for a rapid and dismissive periodization."
TedU says, "I would use the same strategy on non-Romantic works."
WizSteve says, "And your paper makes it sound fairly formalistic, right?"
TedU says, "Indeed."
TedU says, "I think students are over-eager historicists."
AtaraS says, "They very much like seeing connections between the Romantic period and contemporary culture"
TedU says, "I'm aiming for [historicizing] where I think the students are not."
LauraM says, "David Simpson argues the opposite, that we have to avoid presentism in the classroom because, in talking about the present, students are trying to avoid history."
AtaraS says, "Why can't we do both?"
Neil says, "right!"
JayC says, "I liked what you said about premature historicizing, but I don't like the opposite tendency of thinking that parallels in two periods mean the same thing."
AtaraS says, "I think their popularity arises out of a similar impulse though"
LauraM says, "The over-eager historicism you are talking about, Ted, is the desire to talk about what it was like "back then" without having any information, isn't it?"
TedU says, "Sometimes parallels in two periods *do* mean the same thing. Not always."
WizSteve says, "I like Ted's dialectical approach--fair term, Ted?"
TedU says, "Yes."
TedU [to LauraM]: Even if they have information, sometimes [students' historicizing] makes me uncomfortable.
JayC says, "There is never repetition without difference, as Kierkegaard said."
AtaraS says, "I think that the popularity of the Byronic hero [both then and now] arises out of [a similar experience:] readers/viewers wanting a vicarious experience of a power they don't have"
JayC says, "and as Borges said."
Neil says, "Could you give us an example, Ted, of when they do mean the same thing?"
WizSteve "and as Marx said"
TedU says, "I agree with Atara's formulation; [the Byronic hero is an instance of parallel experiences meaning the same thing]"
TedU says, "Different circumstances [surround reception of the Byronic hero], but there are commonalities."
TedU [to LauraM]: "By over-eager historicism, I mean that students are eager to historically place poems before they have actually experienced them."
AtaraS says, "and in some ways I don't see much difference between Shelley's self-pity, and the "alienation" and depression that so much rock music deals with in appealing to teenagers."
Copyright and Rock
JayC says, "Ted, new question. Why don't we see if RC can put the songs you discuss up on the site?"
Neil says, "Talk about copyright issues!"
LauraM says, "Mike can address this . . "
JayC says, "Not so bad. Fair use."
AtaraS says, "You'll have problems with that!"
Mike says, "hmmm. I don't know"
TedU says, "Up to the lawyers."
AtaraS says, "No fair use with rock lyrics. "
Mike says, "there have been suits about this"
JayC says, "Why not, Atara?"
RonB says, "could you provide link to sites with the lyrics"
AtaraS says, "You'll have to pay for them"
JayC says, "Napster has two of the three."
TedU says, "Oh boy."
AtaraS says, "I recently got an essay on U2 published. We couldn't have quotes of more than two lines in a row"
Mike says, "and just publishing lyrics has been called into question"
MichaelES says, "but Napster was recently in the paper too for copyright-related issues"
Mike says, "right"
JayC says, "Publishers, which are slaves to their lawyers, tell you things that are true."
AtaraS says, "publishing lyrics is a huge problem"
AtaraS says, "I cut out a chapter in my book because of that problem"
LauraM says, "wow"
JayC says, "not true!"
AtaraS says, "It's easier to show videos in class"
JayC says, "We should not let ourselves be scared away from exploiting the potentials of this forum by false interpretations of the copyright laws."
MichaelES says, "but don't you have to pay for videos (officially)?"
AtaraS says, "Well, yes, they're my own copies I bought. I'm a fan too. "
Neil says, "I'm curious, Jay: would Vanderbilt let you mount those songs on their server?"
WizSteve says, "Jay makes an important point about not letting ourselves be cowed before the fact, though. But personal home pages are different from institutional sites."
JayC says, "Neil, I'm not sure. But law professors tell me that fair use is a more encompassing protection than we realize."
JayC says, "Ted, yet another question. Could you explain how you made "embarrassment" work in the classroom?"
TedU [to JayC]: Well, that's one of the trickiest aspects. I'm not sure I did get it to wholly work.
TedU says, "There's some benefit to breaking the boundary between classroom and dorm room. And I think that always requires/generates embarrassment. But it can also be unproductive."
JayC says, "The students' embarrassment, I presume?"
TedU says, "My embarassment too."
TedU says, "That's one of the practical aspects of doing this. It tends to be embarassing."
JayC says, "I like the implication of your classroom as a transactional site, where emotions must be 'worked through'"
TedU says, "For one thing, you worry about dating yourself."
AtaraS says, "I have less of a problem with that because I have many students close to my age"
TedU nods to Atara.
JayC says, "When I teach literary theory to graduate students, or other difficult material to undergrads, I like to foreground emotions such as frustration, anger, bewilderment. Foreground, endorse, and then reflect upon."
LauraM says, "Ted: do you think that "experiencing" Romantic poetry differs substantially from experiencing contemporary music because they are not the same kind of commodities -- that all commodities are not equal, not even (or especially) in structure?"
MichaelES says, "how about proper retellings of romantic poems (such as Iron Maiden's 7' song on the ancient Mariner)?"
RonB considers the various renditions of Blake's Songs.
AtaraS says, "I would say that Byron's poems and self-image *were* commodified"
TedU [to LauraM]: that's one of the implications of Wordsworth's attitude to those sickly and stupid German plays. I can't get around it. He would have considered them different things.
MichaelES says, "yet [they were] popular when he wasn't, hence [his] possibly sarcastic response [to them]"
AtaraS says, "Yes, as gross and violent stimulants"
AtaraS says, "Which I compare to horror and action movies in class"
TedU says, "Yes. But I don't fully agree with Wordsworth on this."
LauraM says, "but I was just even thinking of the different copyright issues at stake for us in this discussion -- don't those financial and legal issues enter into emotional experience?"
JayC says, "Say more, Laura."
LauraM says, "well, there is a different kind of expense, and a different kind of cultural capital required for "purchasing" _Lyrical Ballads_ than *Iron Maiden,* right?"
TedU says, "I agree. It feels different."
WizSteve says, "Now, you mean? In our historial moment?"
TedU says, "Even then."
TedU says, "Poetry carried more cultural capital then than rock does now. Though rock carries some."
RonB says, "more than a man speaking to men, eh?"
WizSteve says, "Is it the growth of a true Mass audience?"
LauraM says, "yes, and the cultural capital for purchasing *Lyrical Ballads* in Wordsworth's moment would have been very different ffrom that required now."
TedU says, "Though some alternarock comes close."
TedU says, "It's partly a matter of being in the know."
MichaelES says, "and even for truly expensive Byron volumes (see Felluga's recent article in ERR for instance)"
TedU says, "This is really an important point Laura has raised, and I think it needs to be discussed. In some ways, this is a third thing contemporary culture can do for us."
LauraM says, "In literary studies at this particular moment (2000), there is something more middle-class about knowing Romantic poems now (I hope I'm not offending anyone) and something more highbrow about knowing a lot about popular culture"
JayC says, "Are we seeing the closure of the epoch in which information can be treated as private property, an epoch that opened right before the Romantic period? The law professor Lawrence Lessig things it's possible."
TedU says, "I think the whole cultural capital discussion we just had is something I would very much like to transpire in my classrooms."
LauraM says, "[To Ted:] a little Bourdieu never hurt anyone . . ."
TedU says, "I mean, other than considering historical connections, and other than helping students avoid overeager periodization, contemporary culture can also help us teach cultural theory."
WizSteve says, "Right. Critiquing and possessing popular culture are different ways of knowing."
AtaraS says, "I try to do both"
AtaraS says, "that brings up the whole fan/academic question"
WizSteve says, "As always :->"
AtaraS says, ""Without Contraries is no Progression.""
WizSteve listens to Atara
WizSteve smiles in True Friendship
JayC says, "Atara. I have a question for you. Could you discuss how the identity cagegory of 'fan' works in your thinking about knowledge? Are you suggesting a kind of situational epistemology, where one must be a fan on some level to 'know'?"
AtaraS says, "I "consume" popular culture as much as my students do, and I hope they learn a bit about how to critique it at the same time they enjoy it"
AtaraS says, "Fandom has been so transformed by the net"
AtaraS says, "There are many levels of fandom"
LauraM says, "Instensified?"
WizSteve says, "But to recongnize the different modalities of those ways of knowing, I'd suggest, is something we can help them with."
AtaraS says, "Oh Yes"
RonB says, "We show our investments in our areas of research; fandom is part of this investment."
TedU [to LauraM]: Do you actually have them read Bourdieu? (I'm a fan, but I don't have them read it.)
MichaelES says, "Fans now have a more direct impact on production than during the romantic period - they can sustain a show's presence on TV for instance"
AtaraS says, "I think I'm on over 10 Buffy and Angel related mailing lists"
JayC says, "Yes, but I like to help students who are NOT fans see that they nonetheless have a connection with the contemporary material."
AtaraS says, "Well, that's complicated. I try to spread out my contemporary allusions because I have students ranging in age from 20 to 70's"
LauraM says, "[to Ted]: Bourdieu can be difficult, but I "do" Bourdieu for them, talk at length about how "the distinctions you make distinguish you.""
JayC says, "Students, teachers, are implicated in the contemporary structure of response, and so they need to think critically about it."
LauraM says, "As in that video that critiques the sexist images on MTV, *Dreamworlds 2,* by Sut Jhally."
TedU nods in response to Laura.
JayC nods in response to Laura, too.
End of Conference
-- End log: Sunday, June 18, 2000 1:47:40 pm Villa Diodati time --
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