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ENG287 January 30 - Rescuing Texts that Weren't Happy as Printed Books

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Adam Hammond

ENG287 – January 30 , 2013 Instructor – A. Hammond Rescuing Texts that Weren't Happy as Printed Books Eliot  Footnotes are the editor way of letting you know things that it is assumed you didn't know so that you can enjoy the poem o Eliot's footnotes work in the opposite way, they're elitist because there are just so many that it serves as a way to push us out instead of letting us in  The first edition of The Wasteland was in a magazine and appeared without footnotes o The footnotes were the gimmick that made people write the printed version instead of the magazine publication  Eliot eventually wanted to get rid of the notes because they had begun as a publication gimmick and then had more popularity than the text itself o Realises that he's the reason that there is a belief that in order to understand poetry there needs to be notes so that there is further understanding  Nabokov's Pale Fire o Good poem but so much time is spend flipping between the poem and the notes that it's difficult to read o 'the parasitic nature' of the notes is that they make it harder to read the text  There is also the danger that you'll have notes by the editor about notes by the author  The notes are trying to be helpful but are really saying 'this is too difficult for you'  With the electronic edition it's easier to hide the notes o Changing the orientation changes our perception changes how we're going to interpret the text and the notes appear  McLuhan - reading vs. listening to poetry o Reading is more analytical than listening  Poetry is a way of encoding information so that it can be remembered o Keep knowledge inside  Writing is a way to externalise knowledge so that you don't have to remember it o Push knowledge outside  With print, there were immediate changes in poetry o It became less about how we would hear poetry and more about how we would see poetry on the page o The function of poetry changes because we no longer need to help us remember things, it becomes a purely visual form o "Blank verse seems to be verse only to the eye." - Samuel Johnson o Poetry becomes more like prose  Digital editions of poetry make us ask whether poetry is moving back to it's old function of being about sound and remembering o Allows us to see it and hear it at the same time and brings back the auditory factor o A problem: onomatopoeia  It's a way of writing out sound when you can't say the sound  Then reading aloud the sounds is up to interpretation  The sounds gets lost in translation because the sounds was first translated
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