Technoromanticsm

Professor Laura Mandell
English 710.B, Section A Phone: (O) 9-5276; Office: 370 BAC

Fall 2004

(H) (before 9 p.m.) 765-647-2096
M 1:00 to 3:40, 343 BAC

Office Hours:
TWRF 11:00-12:00, and by appointment

http://blackboard.muohio.edu

mandellc@muohio.edu
AIM: LauraMiam5
MSN Messenger: mandellc@muohio.edu

 

 





Technoromanticism

Course Goals:

Neuromancer, a novel by Gibson, Patchwork Girl, a hypertext by Shelley Jackson, and Technoromanticism, a work of cultural criticism by Richard Coyne, have all argued that there is some kind of special connection between the British Romantic literary movement (1789-1837) and the so-called computer revolution. Recent books by Jerome McGann (Radiant Textuality), Alan Liu (The Laws of Cool, forthcoming April 2004), and Jay Clayton (Dickens in Cyberspace) offer even greater evidence for and elucidation of the connection. Rather than engage in stale arguments about whether Romantics hailed or resisted modernity – rather than ask what the Luddites of the early nineteenth century have to tell the Luddites of the twenty-first (as in Kirkpatrick Sale’s Rebels Against the Future), this course will ask, how did the printing of books (the printed codex) construct a notion of “virtuality,” and how might that notion resemble or differ from the “new” one advanced by digital technologies? We will investigate in this class the emergence of the notion of “text” during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, a virtual reality if there ever was one (de Grazia, Stallybrass). Directed by the work of Mark Rose, we will investigate eighteenth-century legal briefs, trying to see how the idea of the text is sustained by the particular kind of bardolatry invented during the eighteenth-century that ushered in what Jacques Lacan called “The Age of the Ego.” Elizabeth Eisenstein denies the old adage that the image was demoted in status with the advent of print: she notices that letters are images, too. We will ask ourselves the extent to which the continuous “I” posited by Descartes and Locke (and deconstructed by Hume) is only imaginable given a key invention of Gutenberg that, as Steinberg puts it, “laid the foundations of modern publicity through the printed word”: job-printing. Gutenberg’s “identical mass production” (Steinberg) allowed readers and writers to imagine the graphical identity or sameness of a text throughout historical (i.e., recorded) time, thus the eternal persistence of a “same self.” Printed books also ushered in “the title page,” a form regularized in a way that has been called “revolutionary” by the printers Robert and Andrew Foulis (1740-1775): in what way, we will ask, might the layout of this “head” contribute to the status of the bard as authoritative and thus contribute to the emergence of the distinctively modern notion of the author (or “author-function,” as Foucault and Chartier like to call it)?

In this class, we will read much about the history of the book, but will think intensively about its materiality as well, reading Johanna Drucker’s “The Art of the Written Image,” as well as selections from Bernstein, et. al., Talking the Boundless Book and Keith Smith’s Structure of the Visible Book. We will read eighteenth-century and Romantic novels and poems that seem to be about the materiality of print and its constructions of authoritative selves and texts: John Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Thomas Gray’s poetry, Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, Charlotte Smith’s Elegiac Sonnets, Samuel Taylor’s Biographia Literaria, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Percy Shelley’s The Triumph of Life. We will look at the works of William Blake (now available on line) as an example of printing without movable type, and, in conjunction with essays by W.J.T. Mitchell, Morris Eaves, and Stephen Leo Carr, we will ask ourselves the extent to which Blake’s graphic irregularities destablize the reading ego and authorial persona. We will then read the neo-romantic novels and hypertexts mentioned above – Neuromancer and Patchwork Girl – as well as some of the new media art by Talan Memmott and Cris Cheek -- in order to determine what ghosts of print haunt our contemporary virtuality, inescapably tethering new media to print.

Work Required:

One presentation and one seminar paper, plus brief weekly response assignments. Depending on how you focus your final project, this course could count for 18th-century or 19th-century British literature, or as an upper-division literary theory course. You are also required to schedule one meeting to speak with me about your final project (but please feel free to come to my office more often). If you would like to create an online text instead of a seminar paper, we can discuss that when we meet.

Attendance:

Students are not expected to miss graduate seminars. If it is inevitable, please let me know. More than one absence will seriously jeapordize your grade.

Grades:

Response Assignments will be averaged for 50% of your grade. Class presentation will be 10%; presenting class RAs 15%. The remaining 25% will be your seminar paper.

Books:

  1. The Book History Reader, eds. David Finkelstein, Alistaire McCleery
  2. Horace Walpole (1717-1797), The Castle of Otranto
  3. Barbara Maria Stafford, Good Looking: Essays on the Virtue of Images
  4. John Berger, Ways of Seeing, (optional)
  5. Mary Shelley (1797-1851), Frankenstein (must be 1818 edition)
  6. Percy Shelley (1792-1822), Alastor, The Triumph of Life, in Shelley's Poetry and Prose, eds. Reiman and Fraistat (optional)
  7. Shelley Jackson, Patchwork Girl -- a CD-Rom from Eastgate
  8. William Gibson, Neuromancer
  9. Steven Shaviro, Connected: or What It Means to Live in Networked Society ?????

Many works are available online, as you can see from our list of external links; some will be photocopied for you (HO); others are on reserve at King. In one instance, you will need to request a book via OhioLink two weeks before our class.

Schedule

Wk Date Day Readings (have these items read by the time class meets) Assignments Due at the beginning of this Class Meeting
1 8/30 M

Why "Technoromanticism," or, how is Romanticism (dis)connected to/from technology?

Part I: Printing Press as metaphor constructing self

Part II: Nature (Walking / Poetry as Technology for seeing; the new image in print)

Part III: Rise of literacy / print; early 18thc "Battle of the Books" (Ancients vs. Moderns)

excerpts from John Locke (1632-1704), William Wordsworth 1770-1850 -- Handed Out

terms: technology, tool, metaphor, impression, image

During class, you will write three paragraphs on the three parts of our class meeting.
2 9/6 M LABOR DAY -- NO CLASSES  
3 9/7 T

Jack Goody, "Technologies of the Intellect: Writing and the Written Word" (HO)
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), "The Battle of the Books" (1704) (HO)

The Book History Reader, eds. David Finkelstein, Alistaire McCleery $$:
Walter Ong, "Orality and Literacy"
Jan-Dirk Muller, "The Body of the Book: The Media Transition from Manuscript to Print"
Elisabeth Eisenstein, "Defining the Initial Shift: Some Features of Print Culture"

terms: oral, literate, manuscript, and print cultures; nonliterate, illiterate

CLASS LEAVES EARLY TODAY: 3 P.M.

Everyone do a response assignment for articles by Goody, Ong, Muller, and Eisenstein by Monday, 9 a.m.; put each one into the digital dropboxes on Blackboard and/or physical mailboxes of the person in charge of one particular author. Each class member will be responsible for presenting one text, summarizing all the response assignments he or she received.
4 9/13 M

Marshall McLuhan, "The Medium is the Message" (online; click here)
Horace Walpole (1717-1797), The Castle of Otranto $$

The Book History Reader, eds. David Finkelstein, Alistaire McCleery:
Robert Darnton, "What is the History of Books?"
D. F. Mackenzie, "The Book as Expressive Form"
Adrian Johns, "The Book of Nature and the Nature of the Book"
Pierre Bourdieu, "The Field of Cultural Production"

terms: codex, movable type (from Laura's lecture); media, form, nature, culture, avant garde

Everyone do a response assignment for articles by McLuhan, Darnton, Mackenzie, Johns, Bourdieu by Sunday, 9 a.m.; put each one into the digital dropboxes on Blackboard and/or physical mailboxes of the person in charge of one particular author. Each class member will be responsible for presenting one text, summarizing all the response assignments he or she received.
5 9/20 M

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), "What Is Enlightenment?" (1784) (HO)

selections from the aesthetic writings of Joseph Addison (1672-1719) who wrote The Spectator Papers (1712-1714), French encyclopediaist Denis Diderot (1713-1784), and aesthetic theorizing by German philosopher Kant (HO)

Gunther Kress, Theo van Leeuwan, "The Semiotic Landscape: Language and Visual Communication," in Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design (HO)

--key concept: Look here especially at how Kress and VL rewrite the history of the book you have learned from Goody and Ong.

Barbara Maria Stafford, Good Looking: Essays on the Virtue of Images, $$ pp. 1-67; 82-112

terms: Enlightenment, modernity, sublime, image

Everyone do a response assignment for article by Kress and VL, and for chapters of Stafford's book, by Sunday, 9 a.m.; put each one into the digital dropboxes on Blackboard and/or physical mailboxes of the person in charge of one particular author. Each class member will be responsible for presenting one text, summarizing all the response assignments he or she received.
6 10/1 F

ROBERT MARKLEY VISITS: 3:00 to 5:40 p.m.

Robert Markley, "History, Theory, and Virtuality," Intro. to Virtual Realities and their Discontents (HO)

N. Katherine Hayles, "The Condition of Virtuaity," in The Digital Dialectic (online in NetLibrary)

“What's new about new media?” by Geoffrey B. Pingree and Lisa Gitelman, in New media, 1740-1915, by edited by Lisa Gitelman and Geoffrey B. Pingree (HO)

Peter Stallybrass, Margareta de Grazia, "The Materiality of the Shakespearean Text," Shakespeare Quarterly 44.3 (1993): 255-283 (online)

Mapping:"Abstracting Africa: Thematic Mapping and British Imperialism, 1870-1930" commentary by Jon Hegglund (Washington State University) on maps presented at the Newberry Library

In Special Collections: The Journals of Captain James Cook (1728-1779) on his voyages of discovery. Charts & views, / drawn by Cook and his officers and reproduced from the original manuscripts ; edited by R. A. Skelton, published 1955, in Spec Coll Folio G420 .C665 1955.

terms: virtual, map, imperial, new

We will discuss the readings together via email beginning Monday 9/27. No assignments due. Bring one or two questions for Robert Markley on his work on Virtuality.

Please Order via OhioLink your copy of Edward Young, Night Thoughts, illustrated by (just add him as a creator/author name in the Advanced Search) William Blake; you are ordering it for next week.

7 10/8 F MATTHEW KIRSCHENBAUM VISITS: 4:00 to 5:40 p.m.
"CTRL-D, CTRL-Z: Electronic Literature Lost and Found"
No assignments due. Ask good questions after his talk.
8 10/11 M

Edward Young (1683-1745) , Night Thoughts, Illus. by William Blake
William Hogarth (1697-1764) and 18th-Century Print Culture, an online exhibition of Hogarth's works

Joseph Viscomi, "William Blake's Designs for Edward Young's Night Thoughts" (online)
John Berger, Ways of Seeing, $$ pp. 129-155
read around in Gunther Kress, Theo van Leeuwan, Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design (on reserve for Mandell's other class, 180U)

One person presents: Kress and VL___________________________
9 10/18 M

William Blake (1757-1827), The Blake Archive (Marriage of Heaven and Hell; Songs of Innocence and Experience; etc.)

Barbara Stafford, "Picturing Ambiguity," in Good Looking pp. 146-167
Stephen Leo Carr, "Illuminated Printing: Toward a Logic of Difference," in Unnam'd Forms, eds. Nelson Hilton, Thomas Vogler

Morris Eaves, "Technology: The Artistic Machine," in The Counter-Arts Conspiracy (on reserve or borrow from Laura)

Joseph Viscomi, from Blake and the Idea of the Book (on reserve)

Mark Greenberg, "Romantic Technology: Books, Printing, and Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell," in Literature and Technology, eds. Mark Greenberg, Lance Schachterle (on reserve)

Four persons will present:

Stafford and Carr:________________________

Eaves:___________________________

Viscomi: __________________________

Greenberg: _________________________

10 10/25 M

BOOK ART:
Giftbooks: from Special Collections (to be viewed in class) and On Line (URLs forthcoming)

Keith A. Smith, excerpt from Structure of the Visual Book (HO)
Johanna Drucker, "A Critical Metalanguage for the Book as Art Form," in Talking the Boundless Book, Dick Higgins, et. al. (HO)
Jan Tschichold, excerpt from The New Typography (HO)

Jerome McGann, "Visible and Invisible Books," in New Literary History (via EJC) (HO)

Possible Visitor: book artist Diane Stemper

Everyone do a response assignment for articles by Smith, Drucker, Tschichold, and McGann by Sunday, 9 a.m.; put each one into the digital dropboxes on Blackboard and/or physical mailboxes of the person in charge of one particular author. Each class member will be responsible for presenting one text, summarizing all the response assignments he or she received.
11 11/1 M

Mary Shelley (1797-1851), Frankenstein (1818) $$

Richard Pickersgill, A concise account of voyages for the discovery of a north-west passage, undertaken for finding a new way to the East-Indies: with reflections on the practicability of gaining such a passage : To which is prefixed a summary account of the rise and progress of navigation among the various nations of the world (on IMC reserve: microfilm)

Laura Mandell, The Original Author (online)

No assignment
12 11/8 M

Percy Shelley (1792-1822), Alastor, The Triumph of Life $$

The Book History Reader, eds. David Finkelstein, Alistaire McCleery:
Roland Barthes, "The Death of the Author"
Michel Foucault, "What is An Author?"
Mark Rose, "Literary Property Determined"

Jerome McGann, "Deformance and Interpretation," in New Literary History (via EJC) (HO)

Everyone do a response assignment for articles by Barthes, Foucault, Rose, and McGann by Sunday, 9 a.m.; put each one into the digital dropboxes on Blackboard and/or physical mailboxes of the person in charge of one particular author. Each class member will be responsible for presenting one text, summarizing all the response assignments he or she received.
13 11/15 M

cris cheek (biog. at SUNY's Electronic Poetry Center) and Kirsten Lavers under the author-function TNWK, Silicon Fenn

Talan Memmott, Lexia to Perplexia

N. Katherine Hayles, excerpts from Writing Machines (HO)

Class visitor : cris cheek

No assignment
14 11/22 M

Shelley Jackson, Patchwork Girl $$
begin William Gibson, Neuromancer $$

Janet Murray, from Hamlet on the Holodeck (HO)

No assignment
15 11/29 M

finish William Gibson, Neuromancer

Alan Liu, "Local Transcendence: Cultural Criticism, Postmodernism, and the Romanticism of Detail," Representations 32 (1990): 75-113
Julian Stallabrass, "Empowering Technology: The Exploration of Cyberspace," in New Left Review 211 (1995): 3-32) (HO)
Richard Coyne, excerpts from Technoromanticism (online via NetLibrary)

Everyone do a response assignment for articles by Liu, Stallabrass, and Coyne by Sunday, 9 a.m.; put each one into the digital dropboxes on Blackboard and/or physical mailboxes of the person in charge of one particular author. Each class member will be responsible for presenting one text, summarizing all the response assignments he or she received.
16 12/6 M

Adam Smith (1723-1790), on "Sympathy" from The Theory of Moral Sentiments (HO)

Pierre Levy, Cyberculture (HO)
Jay David Bolter, Richard Grusin, Remediation (HO)
Steven Shaviro, Connected: or What It Means to Live in Networked Society $$

No assignment
FE 12/17 F EXAM SCHEDULE: Friday Dec. 17, 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. THERE WILL BE NO FINAL EXAM IN THIS CLASS; INSTEAD PAPERS ARE DUE Final Seminar Paper or Editing Project Due by Friday 12/17, my office, 12 noon -- you are of course welcome to turn it in beforehand.