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Bibliography by MJ Davis

Page history last edited by MJ Davis 7 years, 8 months ago

Annotated Bibliography Assignment


By MJ DavisAnimation and Audio Poetics as Deformative Process in Wordsworth's 1798, 1800, and 1815 "Animal Tranquility and Decay"


1. Apple, Inc. iMovie '11.  http://www.apple.com/ilife/imovie/

     iMovie is a program available through the Apple iLife '11 Suite. It can be used to organize, edit, and render video clips and still images. The iMovie interface allows a user to "grab" frames and copy, delete, or reorder them before rendering them into a final video. Videos can then be exported as files, or shared through public platforms, such as Youtube.com. The flexibility and power of iMovie makes it ideal for rendering stop motion animation videos; not only can the program handle a large volume of images, but it preserves all projects in files that can be easily reverted back to and edited. 


Though iMovie is not free, there is a free program available to Mac users called FrameByFrame. FramByFrame, however, cannot handle the same volume of shots that iMovie can, and is susceptible to crashing when too many images are imported into it. Additionally, FrameByFrame is intended for stop motion animations only; a user can only import still frames, whereas iMovie allows users to import still frames and video clips.


2. Sample, Mark. “Notes towards a Deformed Humanities.” Samplereality.com. Web. 7 May 2012.


     In this blog post, Sample describes the “deformance” of Samuels and McGann as a “hedge,” a “de-forming only to re-form”—that is, a process that may indeed break apart a text in order to find new ways of making the text speak, but one that ultimately seeks to return back to its original text, requiring it as proof that something is indeed “there,” rather than examining the newly-created text-object for its own interpretive value. Seeking to push the destructive impulse of deformance (which he advocates we refer to as “deformation,” resisting the coy undertones of Samuel’s and McGann’s original term), as it is only through carrying out this process that new meanings may become “available” to the reader. In other words, Sample believes, “[t]he deformed work is the end, not the means to an end.” Citing the “disruptive juxtapositions, startling evocations, and unexpected revelations” that his “Hacking the Accident” experiment has yielded, Sample advocates this kind of critical disruption on the grounds that it evidenced “a kind of Bakhtinian double-voiced discourse at work” in his primary text, “Hacking the Academy,” “in which the original intent is still there, but infused with meanings hostile to that intent.” Sample argues for the legitimacy of his "deformative" process as a "mode of doing and knowing ... [p]recisely because it relies on undoing and unknowing."



3. Scheinfeldt, Tom. “Where’s the Beef? Does Digital Humanities Have to Answer Questions?” Foundhistory.org. Web. 9 May 2012.


     In this blog entry, Scheinfeldt addresses a critique often leveled at the Digital Humanities community, by those within and without it: “What questions does digital humanities answer that can’t be answered without it?” Scheinfeldt keeps this concern in sight as he traces the history of electrical experimentation within the British Royal Society back to the very early 18th century, where public demonstrations of electrical energy—ones in which there was no question seeking to be answered, no conclusions being offered—eventually led to “an explosion of electrical instrument making, experimentation, and descriptive work” being conducted by other 18th century scientists. Scheinfeldt notes, “Only after decades of tool building, experimentation, and description were the tools sufficiently articulated and phenomena sufficiently described for theoretical arguments to be fruitfully made.”

     Using this historical interlude as a parallel for the level of experimentation and tool-development that is currently predominant in the Digital Humanities community—a factor that critics point to as a weakness when there is no answer offered by scholars, no conclusions to be drawn—Scheinfeldt argues that though Digital Humanists must “eventually” offer solid arguments, that time has not yet come to pass, especially if the community wishes to cultivate an environment of critical innovation, not one that merely fosters the creation and utilization of tools “built to answer pre-existing questions.” At the very least,” Scheinfeldt writes, “we need to make room for both kinds of digital humanities, the kind that seeks to make arguments and answer questions now and the kind that builds tools and resources with questions in mind, but only in the back of its mind and only for later.” 


4. Samuels, Lisa. "If Meaning, Shaped Reading, and Leslie Scalapino's Way." Qui Parle 12.2 (2001): 179-200. JSTOR. Web. 29 Apr. 2012.


     In this article, Samuels builds on the concept of “deformance” that she and McGann coined in their earlier article,“Deformance and Interpretation,” providing a demonstration of deformance as the “physical re-ordering” of a poem (a process that she refers to as “shaped reading”). Samuels critiques the critical impulse to treat poems as stable objects: “Critical practices generally do not look to such physical re-orderings of poetry, instead construing them as inviolable form” (180). Samuels wants critics to resist the “apposition” of the critical object (piece of criticism) with the original object (the literary text the critic seeks to study) (180). Such disparity between art and criticism, Samuels posits, “suppresses that which is excessive and anarchic in works of language art” (180-1). It is this form of suppression that Samuels seeks to circumvent, developing an alternative method of criticism that works with (perhaps even against) a literary text rather than simply on it. Instead, she encourages readers to “engage critically with the changefulness of literary and critical signs, with the inherent dynamism of language,” “focus[ing] on questions and uncertainty,” rather than static meaning or answer-finding (183).

     Offering her own principles for and demonstration of "shaped reading," Samuels chooses to engage with contemporary poet Leslie Scalapino’s way, a text conscious of its own “fragmentation,” “dynamic meaning,” and multiple perspectives at play (186). Like deformance as a critical technique, way demands that readers “turn…into different kinds of experiencers,” open to “the natures of ‘knowing’ and ‘meaning’,” (186):


I have gone through the relevant twenty pages of Scalapino’s way (115-34) in progressive linear order, isolating words and phrases and putting them into new forms and orders. I make no deliberate changes in spelling, grammar or punctuation, but because I leave out words, phrases and punctuation that come between the selected parts, the result nonetheless produces changes in grammar and, particularly, in syntax (188).


Noting that “different selections are of course possible,” Samuels writes, “these readings are meant as illuminations, not as replacements for or “de-coding answers” to the poem,” justifying her method as a formal reconstitution of the eye of the reader moving over the text, "remembering certain words and phrases markedly during one reading, and other words and phrases during other readings" (188). Because of, not only the inherent instability of a text, but the inherent instability of even the same reader's experiencing and re-experiencing of the same (and thus, different) text(s): “the “being” of an artwork is precisely variable, and one of the peculiar freedoms of verbal art…is that observers can engage with it by physically transforming its given properties” (194, italics hers).

     Samuels concludes her article by alluding to the potential of electronic text and space to add another key dimension to deformance, formerly unsupportable by the material constraints of traditional print as a medium: “Perhaps because we have only begun to theorize the possibilities of electronic media and are keenly aware of being in a new space…structure and medium are up for grabs” (197). In any case, Samuels advocates deformance as both a destructive and constructive process, “dismantling meaning to point to how it is being made” (197).



5. Samuels, Lisa and Jerome J. McGann, "Deformance and Interpretation." New Literary History 30: 1 (1999): 25-56.


     Samuels and McGann offer their concept of “derformance”—that is, various methods working toward the same goal of disrupting the text in order to create new meanings—as an alternative (or rather, supplement) to traditional critical approaches to texts, where “[t]he usual object of interpretation is “meaning,” or some set of ideas that can be set in thematic form” (26). Allowing that there are infinite approaches to the deformative process, Samuels and McGann provide four specific examples of deformance at work: “reading backwards,” noun isolation, verb isolation, and selective isolation of words. “[Deformance] does not stand opposed to interpretive procedures as such,” write Samuels and McGann, “[t]he alternative moves to break beyond conceptual analysis into the kinds of knowledge involved in performative operations—a practice of everyday imaginative life” (26). Describing the “physical and performative character” of deformance readings, the authors posit deformance as “not a reimagined meaning but a project for reconstituting the work’s aesthetic form, as if a disordering of one’s senses of the work would make us dwellers in the possibility” (26, 28). A deformative approach to criticism reveals language’s potential as “an interactive medium,” rather than acting as a mere “reflexive work of analysis”—in this way, it can more accurately be called a “respons[e]” (28, 29).

     Samuels and McGann claim than any critical interpretation is, at heart, a deformance, though it might like to consider itself an “informative…activity” (46, 33). But rather than treating text as an inviolable object, Samuels and McGann advocate play—anything that might disrupt and effectively “turn of the controls that organize the poetic system” (36). Samuels and McGann demonstrate their of “reading backwards” (reordering the poem’s lines from beginning to end), using Wallace Stevens’s “The Search for Sound Free from Motion” (37). They then go on to Stevens’s “The Snow Man,” isolating nouns, and then verbs in turn, creating two new poetic texts from the deformance of the original text. Looking at the old text in light of the new one, the Samuels and McGann argue, “Deformance does want to show that the poem’s intelligibility is not a function of the interpretation, but that all interpretation is a function of the poem’s systematic intelligibility” (40). Likening the deformative process to ekphrastic art or literary translations, Samuels and McGann seek to “[o]pen the poem to its variable self” “Our deformances do not flee from the question, or the generation, of “meaning,” Samuels and McGann write. “Rather, they try to demonstrate…that “meaning” in an imaginative work is a secondary phenomenon,” a “residue” left over by the creation of the text itself (48).


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