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Research Presentation Video

Watch Katherine Snell '15, Emma Smith '14 and Alana Friedman '16 discuss their research project.

The Aesthetics of the Internet in the Fiction of Tao Lin

Joseph Ocon (2014); Mentor(s): Kevin Dettmar

Abstract: Tao Lin is a novelist, poet, and publisher currently working in the ambiguous space between literature and the internet both in his literary work and his extra-literary work. His extra-literary work, which, occurring primarily on the internet, frames his literary work, establishes the internet as part of his artist’s practice. Furthermore, the literary and extra-literary influence each other in his practice. This duality, between the internet and literature, exists in most of Lin’s work. Lin’s fiction is a space in which the formal and aesthetic structures of the novel and the internet interact. In his novel Richard Yates and novella Shoplifting from American Apparel, internet text forms are “novelized,” making an aesthetic claim: the form of the novel dominates other text forms. Certain aesthetic qualities of the internet must be elided. These works draw attention to the elision that occurs in the process of integration, gesturing toward an intimate space beyond the surface of the text. The elisions, conspicuously absent, create negative texts that provide the characters of the works with a closeness that excludes the reader and defies the novel’s power to make its world public. In Taipei, Lin’s third novel, an inversion occurs. The computer becomes a machine for making information public, for turning people into information. The computer has the potential to create new forms of intimacy but also allows for the creation of massive public databases in which privacy is obliterated, intimacy is unimaginable. Lin extends this idea to the novel itself.
Funding Provided by: National Endowment for the Humanities

Figuratively Speaking: Printed Marginalia in Early English Texts

Emma Smith (2014); Student Collaborator(s): Alana Friedman (2016); Katherine Snell (2015); Mentor(s): Colleen Rosenfeld

Abstract: The purpose of this project is to do a detailed study and catalogue of Early Modern figures of speech in order to identify trends in their usage. We endeavor to explore the relationship between argument and figures of speech, content and form. Despite Early Modern pedagogy’s attempts to separate the two, our research has consistently shown the interconnectedness of language and modes of writing and thinking. For our sources, we used the Early English Books Online database (EEBO), searching documents chronologically for relevant marginalia. Our project began last summer with the creation of a shared Google spreadsheet cataloguing each text we examined by Title, Author, Date of Publication, Type of Figure, Marginalia, and Related Text, preserving the original spelling. This is the first database of it is kind, given that the majority of marginalia in Early English documents are not key word searchable. Although this project is still in progress, we have already witnessed a marked increase in all printed marginalia per year and are on track to generate a body of data from which we may draw further conclusions. Printed marginalia represents an intersection between print culture, pedagogical practices, political and religious controversies of the time, theories of language, and the history of English.
Funding Provided by: Donors to the History and English Department SURP (ES), National Endowment for the Humanities (AF, KS)