Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It appears that I am last, though I hope, not least. I found that I enjoyed the research part of this project best. I think I've mentioned before how much I despise technically editing and as a result my grammar and punctuation usage is atrocious. Finding out which characters were real historical figures, where Shelley took her quotes from, and seeing the influence of Shakespeare in some of her phrases was a much more rewarding experience for me. Because this was an online project, I solely mined the Internet for my sources, though, I think in the future a combination of the online text and an actual physical text might be more helpful or at the very least, less painful. I like the idea of online texts, but not as a replacement for physical texts. A fusion of both or a best of both worlds would be an interesting collaboration. Overall, my experience with Perkin Warbeck has been eye-opening and informative. It is a disorienting, yet interesting, experience to be a part of something that is so much larger than the contribution you've put in (though that contribution is significant) and something that will continue on, long after you've left it. It is really the essence of good literature, something that carries on and on and on, even after it has been edited and read and re-read, it has its own life.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Intro to Chapter II: The Conference

My experience with Wikki has been fun and interesting. At first, it was a little over whelming, but once you get the hang of it, it isn’t so bad. The thing you need to remember is: Take your time! Break it up into small sections so that you are not staring at a computer for hours. This can become very discouraging and it makes the experience less gratifying. You also need to do your homework on your chapter. This can be helpful in understanding your chapter but it can also be helpful in explaining it. My chapter was full of historical background which made it difficult for many to read. I tried to make it easier by adding links to each name so that when you read it, you can just click the link and can get the background information on each character.

My chapter is the second chapter and several new characters are introduced. I tried to make it easier for others by adding the links to each character. I also added definitions to certain words that either I didn’t know the meaning of or that I thought others might not know. I provided background information on certain characters that had already been talked about but not fully explained.

When editing this novel, I found it hard to catch certain errors. Some were easily identifiable and others you had to re-read over and over again to catch it. My advice to others who will be working on this project: read your chapter every few days to catch her errors. I am sure there are still some that have been missed, but every time I read my chapter I find a new one.
This project was a good experience for me and I had fun doing it. Once I figured out how to work with the chapter, it became a game to me. I wanted to play with and fix everything. The hyperlinks made explaining and learning my chapter fun. I hope the next person to read my chapter has an easier time understanding it now that I have added my touch.

Good luck to you all and have fun with this text!
Thanks, Apryl

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Mary Shelley has her ups and downs in her writing. Sometimes it has more imagery, other spots feel like a dragged on lecture you don't want to sit through. I found myself copy-editing the chapter instead of writing comments about it. If I could've done that instead I would be golden! I wouldn't mind using it as a tool to practice copy-editing, rather than reading off the internet and citing comments. But, for a project, it did seem like a bigger deal, which it is, it did seem like it took over the second half of the semester, along with the other books we had to read. It sat in the back of the head forever, so it will feel very good once its over with. It did keep us on our toes and try something new, which, isn't that what college is all about??
So close, yet so far! It does seem pretty simple, but it took me almost all night to really get a grasp of what IS going on in my chapter! It is getting easier, and I am finishing it slowly but surely!! The whole book is just a difficult read, but knowing they are real characters and she does make sure we know about each of their pasts it is entertaining. I also found that some of the other chapters were easier and more interesting than mine...oh well, that grass does always seem greener on the other side, right? I'm going to hop to on the introduction and get it out of my life.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I'm done, I'm done, I'm done!

Overall, this is experience has been both difficult and enlightening. I still adhere to my feeling that having a print version of the novel would be beneficial. I believe my eyes are irreparable after staring at the computer screen for countless hours. I did, however, like the project overall. To know that this extremely important work will finally be made available to the masses is awesome. And the fact that my work will be available with it is even more awesome.

The importance of such an undertaking is immense. Since Mary Shelley really has only become much more respected in the past few decades, it is imperative that Perkin Warbeck be available to her fans. It is an excellent example of a historical text with pure imagination. The twisted and round-about plotline is unlike anything I've ever seen.

The editing of the chapters is completely necessary. If I were to read this text without any help from Dr. Webster-Garrett and any notes from my fellow classmates, I would have been lost beyond repair. Because Shelley alludes to so many different people, places, and events, the necessity of the notes becomes apparent.

I honestly can't wait to see this thing go "live" in a few years. It's something that I can look back upon and say, "Hey...I helped do that."

Saturday, April 15, 2006

After completing the novel, I realized that I would have enjoyed it even more if I had it in a hard copy, but all in all it was very good. I found that the web project wasn't very hard, it was deciding what you wanted to write that I found difficult. I think that the web project is a good idea, but I think it would have been easier to have read a hard copy of it, mark it up and then go online and make notes about it. Now that I have finished it doesn't seem like it was that hard.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hello Guys,

I haven't been using this blog site, I have been using my original one that is linked to this page. I have finished my web of mind project and would really appreciate some feedback. I hope your projects are going well.


Sarah Bostock

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The technical editing is, for the most part, complete on my chapter from Perkin Warbeck. Though I did not really use the comment feature while reading the text, I've found that editing a whole chapter has engrossed me almost as much as the reading did. I would still like very much to change the font and font size on the page but have not been able to so far. I'm not sure if this is because I really cannot change the font and font size (I can format it in any other way, color, bold, etc. but not SIZE) or that I am doing something incorrectly. The readability of the text on the screen was my first and foremost concern. I do believe the current font in Lucida Console, size 10. I think Times New Roman or Georgia (the font I'm using now) in a size 12 would be easier on the eyes. My second concern was grammar and misspelled words. Really I was more concerned with the latter. My grammar is atrocious and I probably "corrected" sentences that were already correct and missed some other glaring error. I sincerely hope not but that is the joy and/or curse of both writing and editing. The job is never done and I am reminded of the remark that a work of art (be it literature or otherwise), because it can never complete, has to be abandoned. When someone writes a poem or paints a portrait this is the feeling they get. I have found that even though I did not write The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck, that even though I am just editing it, I am getting the same feeling I experience when I create, that I should go back and change one more thing, or maybe this paragraph should be indented here or maybe the title would look better in bold, ad infinitum. I have changed the chapter headings a dozen times at least (I most certainly wanted Roman numerals-they look more dignified). The realization I have come too in this, really the first leg of editing, is that editing is so close to the actual writing process that it holds very nearly the same frustrations and the same joys. I feel in a small (very small because I don't own her genius) way that I am picking up where Mary Shelley left off.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

As my part in The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck draws to a close, I realize two things: I have learned a great deal through the process, and the project probably won’t really come to an end. As I have wrestled with the online text, the editing and annotating, the research, I have gained new skills and knowledge—knowledge of the electronic textual format and of the lives of Mary Shelley and the 15th century British royals. As for my part in the project being complete, I’m not sure when that will occur.

For my research, I did refer to several books and periodicals, but most of my information came from websites and online articles. That seems appropriate for the nature of this project. As I did my research, I bookmarked a number of sites. Then as I was annotating my chapter, I had those references right at my fingertips. Just a click and I was reading about Richard III. Another click and I was back to Chapter One of Perkin Warbeck, ready to make a comment. The speed and availability of information made this assignment interesting while at the same time, sometimes overwhelming.

I found myself developing a relationship to my chapter in the text. The more I learned about British history, the Wars of the Roses, the Plantagenet and Tudor kings, the closer I felt to the words on the screen. I began to feel like those pages were mine. I felt a sense of accomplishment when I scrolled down and saw the blue words that indicated my contributions. The blue words also helped me find my way on the pages, a problem I had earlier with the text. I relished moving screen by screen and clicking on the highlighted words, reading the additions I had made, amazed at the wealth of information I had garnered over the course of my research.

Then I would click on a blue word that I hadn’t highlighted, and I would be reminded that this chapter was not solely mine. Others had gone before me, editing the chapter and making their comments. Others would certainly come after me, doing more research and making more annotations. I found this a bit disconcerting. When I turn in a paper to a professor, it belongs to me. The quotes and some ideas may have come from other sources, but the synthesis is mine, and I take full credit for the work. I can’t claim the same for this project, which indicates that this type of work ushers in a fresh paradigm. The success of this project requires collaboration; its achievement depends on one person’s work building on that of another’s. My supplements to the chapter are just one phase of an on-going process, and I will have to share the final result, if there ever is one, with many others.

There are still a few aspects of the annotations that challenge me. For example, a word or name highlighted in the text can only have one annotation. I had wanted to make two different entries about the same person. When I highlighted the name the second time, I was shown to my earlier annotation. I had to insert some fresh words in order to be able to write a new annotation. I’m wondering if this is true from chapter to chapter, since an earlier link entered on my page takes me to a character in a later chapter. Perhaps this is a characteristic of the wiki text that can be modified.

Having spent a great deal of time soaking in the history of the 15th century Brits, I have a much deeper understanding of what was going on in the novel. I want to sit down and read it again, realizing that I will grasp so much more the second time around. In a few more semesters, as this project continues to develop and more information is included in the supplements, the reading of the story will gain breadth and depth. I look forward to returning to the text again in the future after others have placed their fingerprints on it.
During the process of editing my chapter, I found it hard to tamper with Shelley's work. It helped me understand the reading better since I had to look some things up and get more involved with it. It was fun to be able to add comments but I still would rather be reading a hard copy of the book. It was really hard to keep up with the text in an on line form. I still don't think I fully understood what I read. It was just too much to look at a computer screen for that long of a text. It wouldn't have been so bad if it was a smaller text, but this was just too long for my eyes. I feel that I was not able to completely read what I need to. It makes things much more diffficult and I really hope it is something I never have to do again. I like having a hard copy of something so I can curl up on the couch and read. It was uncomfortable to sit infront of a computer and read that whole text. I found much harder to follow due to the text being on-line. I think I would have a better understanding of it had I been able to read a hard copy. I have never used cyber text before but it needs some work. It should have the option to print out the full text, and not chapter by chapter. It needs to have a full printable copy for those who want to print it out, and not deal with the cyber text. I didn't like having to this rtext on-line, but atleast I have had the experience and can help make it easier for others.

Monday, March 20, 2006

I agree with Caroline's idea about reading the novel without clicking back to the list of the chapters. It would be more convenient and efficient to read the novel without stopping. :-)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Although I do like having a tangible text, I don't mind reading online as much as I thought I would. I've gotten used to reading on a computer screen. However, I think the story would flow better if you can click to the next chapter with out having to click back to the home page.
Now that I'm more familiar with Shelley's style, at least in Perkin Warbeck, I can follow the characters and stick with her intricate plot. She does have a tendency to engage her characters in many things at once.
While editing my chapter (I'm not done with my chapter yet), I've researched historical background on characters, places, and dates. I've enjoyed the process thus far because I'm fascinated with English history and I've only added to my knowledge. For a brief period I am an amateur or quasi historian. The process brings me closer to what Shelley might have experienced in her quest for historical documents and her reliance on others for information. Indeed, I rely quite a bit on the computer for information, atleast in this project. Perhaps, we can relate to Shelley in her process to create a new approach to history and historical texts. That is, we are engaging in a process that is new to us and it is certainly a new approach to reading and editing.
Online blogs and new mediums like hypertexts can be a place for political subversion and emergent ideas. Editing my chapter and participating in the project has added to my understanding of the texts displacment of criticism on political and social conditions of contemporary time. That is, like Shelley's historical novel, the hyper text provides a place for one to participate in criticism under the radar.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mary Shelley describes Richard (Perkin Warbeck) and Henry VII with contrasted characteristics. Richard is always described as a pure noble man while HenryVII is an evil character.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I like to reading your responses to the novel! It actually helps me to go back to the chapters and realize things that I didn't even think about! Thanks! ;-) There are a lot of characters and I became busy to figure out who is who. :-p I think it's better to read this novel without taking too long break...otherwise you will be lost..haha.. I found my self enjoying reading this novel, as long as you remember what happens each chapter... and those names...!! lol ( I always have trouble with names...) The story itself is very fast, moving, vivid, and very very detailed. And, oh, I became really really comfortable reading online! I found myself reading 7 chapters in a row without taking break! amazing! cuz I usually become impatient and quit for a while and come back again and try to read. So I guess I am getting used to this! :-) Yes, I am trying to catch up with those chapters during spring break. Hopefully I can finish the novel during my lovely spring break.. and I am still going to post more as I read next chapters.Good luck~!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

So, I've been in this novel for almost a month now and am still finding it hard to read online. Unequivocally, I have decided there needs to be a way to download a print version of this. With the many allusions, identity changes, and characters, it is almost essential that I have a pen in hand when reading this novel.

I don't want you to think I don't enjoy the novel, as I think that it is just as good as Frankenstein and Lodore, if not better. But the fact that I feel as if I'm going to go blind as a result of reading a full-length novel online is something that I'm not quite comfortable with.

By no means am I dismissing the idea of keeping this novel online. I thoroughly enjoy the premise behind this project. A printed version of this book could just be an easy companion. That way we can make comments/annotations as we go along online while reading the book in print.

The fact that everyone can put their own personal touch on the text is amazing. It's been beneficial to see what everyone else has to say. I'm actually excited to see everyone's final addition to their assigned chapters. I think, after all the different criticism, we can help future readers understand this sometimes extremely complicated text.

I'm still working on finishing the book, as it is a task that has taken quite a bit of my time. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it couldn't be brighter.

Until next time,

I find that I have a love-hate relationship with this Wiki-text assignment. On the one hand, I like the idea of being involved in something new, something that is progressive and innovative. I like having the opportunity to experiment a bit, to be able to have input that could prove useful to other students. At the same time, I have experienced anxiety and frustration over the unique format of the project. My anxiety comes from making my comments public. Usually, only the professor or a peer reviewer sees what I write. In this arena, my comments are part of the academic community, out there for everyone to see. If I make a misstep, I can’t hide it. It is in the public record. My frustration comes in part from the technical difficulties I have had—not being able to edit my chapter and having my comments on the text show up as someone else (oddly enough, they showed up as the imposter, Perkin Warbeck). Frustration also comes from the difference in the text itself because I find myself getting lost in the screens, whereas I can tab, highlight, or remember a location on a page when I am reading a book that I can hold in my hands.

I think the public aspect of the book and the comments/annotations is uniquely suited to a text from the Victorian era. Women were looked at as one of two major types: the private person who stayed at home, kept herself pure and unspotted from the world and the public woman who allowed herself to be dirtied or corrupted by outside society. This latter type could be someone in the visible arena such as a writer; someone working in a lowly factory job; or someone in a less than “honorable” employment like prostitution. If the public is the less desirable choice, then it seems we are stepping out of favor with the Victorians (at least the females are). And yet, we see Shelley creating women who are “public” figures because of the nature of their birth and calling. So in that regard, I think Mary Shelley would approve of the task we are undertaking.

In the same vein, the innovative nature of the project is in keeping with Victorian times. They experienced anxiety over the changes they saw around them and worked at coming to terms with them. If they could do that, then I think I must attempt to emulate them.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I think Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck by Mary Shelley is a good novel. I didn't think I would like it at first, but after I got used to who the people were and the names got straightened out in my head, I found it much more enjoyable. I still find it hard to read and think it would be easier if there was a hard copy to hold onto, so you don't have to stare at the computer screen all the time, but other than that, once I got involved in the story, I wanted to "turn the page" to find out the next even that was going to take place. I find it very interesting that so many people were convinced that Perkin Warbeck was the real heir to the thrown and that Margaret of Burgundy accepted him as such even though i'm not sure she really thought he was the real thing or a fraud. I thought it was sad that he lost both fights against England and that he had to leave Ireland but I do finally now understand to some degree why the novel was called Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck, not that it was hard to determine, but I found references in the book that made it clearer. I am excited about starting the editing of my chapter, I hadn't started yet because I wanted to read more before I started making notes and such, but I hope to learn things that will clarify my questions about the chapter that I was assigned as well as questions others had about it as well.
I agree with Ashley, Love the book, hate the online reading. It is better written than Frankenstein and at the same time is just as good, if not better. At times it is much harder to get through than I would like but it is worth it. I like having my own chapter to play with. That helps me to better understand what I am reading. My chapter is full of history and events that I had to continuously look up back ground information about, but it helped me better understand what I was reading. I noticed other people had trouble getting through my chapter which is "The Confrence". Hopefully, I can get some good footnotes in there to help everyone else out. They definately need to put this in some type of downloadable and printable form because at this point, I never want to look at a computer screen a gain.
Well, it took long enough but I've finally finished this book. I must agree with Dr. W-G, I didn't think Frankenstein was very well written but this book definitely is. Shelley has created a story that just pulls you in. While it can get confusing with all of the names and everything, getting passed that is well worth it. I'm going to again complain about reading online. I've done it repeatedly in class but now I have one more reason. I was sick all last week and over the weekend and couldn't get out of bed. So reading online was a bit difficult since I don't have a laptop. I would much rather enjoy this book in a concrete form so that I could have something constructive to do while I'm sick!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Ok so this reading online is really hurting my eyes. No matter how many times I mess with the zoom I can never find the right size or view that is fitting for my eyes. I like the book but hate this online reading. I need a pen to write all over the book. I am tempted to take a marker and write on the screen so that way I could pretend like I had the book in front of me. Another problem I have is the changing of titles. Why can it not be that one person has the same name throughout. Reading online is a challenge enough but when you have that extra element of surprise with the constant name changing it tends to make things a little more difficult. Hopefully, during spring break boredom of sitting at home for a week will drive me to print the entire book so I can write all over it. I guess I will also have to invest in a magnifying glass because I cannot get the font bigger when I print it. Well I am going to get back to my reading now, good luck to the rest of you.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Some observations
I am becoming more acclimated to reading the text on-line, but I'm still striving to make all the connections. That may not be so much a feature of the wiki text as it is the length and breadth of the novel.It seems that Richard/Warbeck is often detached about the events that happen in the novel. Is that just the way of Mary Shelley? Is she more stoic as she writes her characters' events?

It seems that passing the young Richard off as Perkin Warbeck is very easily accomplished and with little thought for the future. There does seem to be some emotion attached: "Lovel was profuse of thanks : so suddenly and so easily to be relieved from his worst fears, appeared like the special interposition of some guardian saint. His heart overflowed with gratitude ; and his glistening eyes gave token of greater thanks than even his emphatic words." And yet, it almost seems like he is glad to have the young prince out of his care. Here is the proper heir to the throne of England being sent off with little promise for how he might be returned to his rightful place. Of course, Lovel might have been willing to do this to save young Richard's life figuring that he would form a plan later that would restore the Yorks to power.

When Richard was forced out of France by Charles so that the French King could sign a treaty with King Henry, the expulsion also seems to be a bit unemotional. Though Shelley writes of Richard, "Pride, indignation, and heroic resolve sustained the duke under this insult; but violent, angry emotion was foreign to his dispo- [127] sition, and only kept alive in his bosom at the expense of much suffering," there seems to me a detachment to these "emotions." At this point Shelley "tells" rather than "shows" the emotions, so perhaps that is the reason they do not seem to be fully demonstrated in Richard's character.Generally speaking, Richard does not seem to be a very emotional character. He seems to be "above" much that is happening in his life. Perhaps that makes him more Royal, but it seems also to make him less human.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Wow! This book is amazing. I decided to start the book over again because I was extremely confused with all of the name changes. When I first read the story I thought Warbeck was being protected at the money lender's home, only to find out it was Richard of York.
As I re-read the story I'm finding more and more themes and I'm starting to realise the depth of the novel. On page 4 in chapter 2 we can hear Shelly's voice in her female character Lady Brampton when she states, "Lady Brampton's impatience did not permit the earl long to indulge in that commune with nature, WHICH WE EAGERLY SEEK WHEN GRIEF AND DEATH THROWS US BACK ON THE WEAKNESSES OF OUR HUMAN STATE, AND WE FEEL THAT OURSELVES, OUR BEST LAID PROJECTS, AND LOFTIEST HOPES, ARE BUT THE PLAYTHINGS OF DESTINY."(The Conference)
This quote coincides with a statement that she makes in the introduction of this book. Shelly believes that, "Human nature is the same in all ages." (Introduction) Shelly's comment about Lincoln's commune with nature goes along with her belief that we have no way of changing our destiny. We are "the same in all ages." It is interesting that she calls humans, "playthings of destiny," because she makes many references to chess as she is discussing characters in the novel. On page 6 in chapter 2 Lovel makes a comment about the money lender when he states, "Who would suppose," thought Lovel, "that this man holds half England in pawn?" (The conference)
It was also interesting the way she introduced her valiant knight characters. On page 1 of chapter 2 she states that, "Lord Lovel was possessed of knightly courage, untarnished honor, and gentlmanly accomplishment." While I was reading this I kept thinking of Homer and the Illiad/Odyssey. Homer would, build up, if you will, his heros by using epic similie and by telling of their great deeds. In a way Shelly does that here. She wants her audience to know who the good guys are.
I find myself reading online and marking stuff on a paper version because I'm afraid to mark the computer screen until I know for sure that what I'm thinking is correct. I'll have to finish the novel before I mark it. I don't want to post something and then have it be completely wrong later on. Using the blog has helped me keep track of my thoughts as well. This will be a great source of information once I finish the book. I'll know where my pre-conceptions have changed and why they have changed. Well that's all from here. Goodnight!
Through out her novel, Shelley refers to Ireland as a savage place filled with degenerate English lords and wiley natives. In chapter 15 she writes, "Cork was an asylum for civilization in the centre of a savage district". Cork is relatively civilized because it is governed and inhabited by the English. the city exists as a microcosm representative of England's position in the world. The one truly civilized place amongst an uncivilized world. Even the French and Spanish can not match English blood. Hence, Richard enters Ireland as a civilized Englishman and the native Irish recognize his superiority. The tainted English Lords and local Irish roans and cheiftans support him unquestioningly and revere his nobility. He enters Ireland as the colonizer and the colonized worship his majesty and purity, naturally. Of course, one might argue that Richard lost some of his purity when he became Perkin Warbeck and lived amongst the Spanish and French. He is tainted from his travels abroad.
I'm struck with the similarities of her description of Ireland and its inhabitants to Puritan and early colonial discourse on native americans. Similar to Puritan writers and early colonial writer's portrayals of America and Native Americans, she protrays Ireland as an uncivilized, savage, barbaric, wild, and dangerous world. She describes the Irish in terms of their simplicity and natural hospitality to those who are superior. Their dress is ancient and provincial and their language is unintelligable to Richard. Therefore, their difference makes them savage, barbaric, and inferior. They fall prey to every scheme the Yorks may have to regain the English thrown, and frequently play the pawn. Furthermore, it is ironic the narrator considers Ireland barbaric and inferior in part because of their fueding and wars between "tribes" rather than families. Such were the circumstances of England.
Shelley's novel reveals England as the center of the world. Other countries exist as different chest pieces in the English nobilities attempts at legitimacy. Perhaps the novel looks at the legitimacy of history told by one voice only.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

This process of editing a chapter was even easier than I could have imagined. By simply double clicking on the screen and adding the brackets, you can literaly add anything to the text. I edited my chapter for the first time earlier this morning before class, adding a history side note I remembered from a previous class. While I can see immediately the usefulness of this type of text, I think the reader should do one of two things before reading any text on the wikki. Either first read a hard copy of the text without using the wikki at all, or read the online version, however don't click on any of the links. I believe this is useful because when first reading a text the wikki might tend to distract you. When first reading a text sometimes the basic plot or even the setting might be hard to understand. While a bunch of links to side notes about all these things could be uesful, it would be more beneficial on a second read through. The first time reading any text the person's mind should be focused sulely on that text and trying to make sense of the plot by him or herself. After a first read through then the wikki shows its unique usefullness because now when the reader understands the story and knows how it will end, links to side notes about characters, themes, plot lines, etc. makes tremendous more sense and become even more useful in the analysis phase. However I must also point out the fact that the wikki still is remarkable because of the fact that books that would never be published now get a chance to live again. This fact alone makes it very valuable and I'm sure this type of text format will become increasingly popular. It still can't replace the feel of a book in your actual hands though!

Just wanted to add sorry about spelling mistakes if their are any, I check but I'm terrible at it.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

OK...so at first, reading online didn't seem so bad. I didn't have to go out and buy a $38.00 book just to destroy it with my marking pen. I didn't have to carry the book wherever I went with false hopes of sitting down on a random campus bench to read it. But then I realized how long The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck was. And then I cringed. For the past week, I've spent more time at my computer than I have in the last two semesters combined. Contrary to popular belief, I'm not a college student who sits on his laptop day by day, talking to long lost friends online. You'll only find me here writing a term paper, shooting an e-mail, or (occasionally) writing a blog. But reading an entire 19th-century novel on my computer screen has been one of the hardest tasks I've ever attempted to complete. And I say "attempt" because I have not finished the challenge yet.

Dr. W-G is right: I've never read a book for an English project without a pen and/or highlighter in hand. I don't have the patience to write my notes in a Word document. So I'm forcing myself to remember almost everything I read. Not such a good idea.

That being said, I do find it a bit uplifting to know I can make a dent on this project with my own thoughts and formatting. To know that thousands around the world have access to MY work is pretty cool.

So, for now, I'll keep trodding through this "wonderful" technical breakthrough. Hopefully by the next blog, I'll have MORE positive things to say.

Until then....


Thursday, February 23, 2006

-Think about how many hours we work in front of our computer desk for a day.
Well.. I pretty much live in front of my computer and I thought it was time for me to not complain about reading online for hours and hours. B.U.T.. I realized this is quite a work, and I found myself becoming impatient and keep looking at the clock. lolFirst of all, it was frustrating to realize that I still didn't get the plot right in spite of my second time to meet Perkin Warbeck.Secondly, as we all talked about this last time in class, my eyes and butts got tired and couldn't concentrate on very well. (but still I spend a lot a lot a lot of time in front of my computer doing homework, researching, writing paper, playing games, chatting,,,lol)

Since I could not mark or underline on the computer screen, I had to use my notebook and write down things that I want to look at later or things that I have no clue what it is about. It is good that at least we can highlight lines as we read. You know, some online text doesn't let us to highlight the text. One of my weaknesses was the fact that I was not familar with the history background. Their history is just..so....long.. Hopefully I can get through this novel and get something out of it!

Reading online is becoming very common I think. A lot of e-books are out there. I want to get used to it , and I hope I can and we all can find out more advantages as we keep working on it.
So far, my advantage of reading online is that I read faster than when I read a book which is good~ :-)
Oh brother... the readjustment period. As english majors we are accustomed to reading literature with "A pen in hand", according to Dr. Webster-Garrett. I find myself going through withdraw because of the pen loss. I've been printing out the readings becuase it's been such a hard transition. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of the Web of Mind. I'm learning to love literauture in a whole new way, but I have to get used to leaving my mark on a text that anyone can read.
After delving a little further into the hypertext I found reading the text on a computer screen easier. Marking my place by right clicking and highlighting an area, allowed an easy return to where I left off.
Shelley has a habit of introducing a character and then not mentioning him or her until several chapters later. For example, she introduces Edmond son of Richard III in the first chapter and then he drops out of the story until four or five chapters later. Hernan de Faro appears in one chapter and goes unmentioned in another. Although with so many characters it would be hard to talk about them at the same time or involve them in the plot all at once. Sometimes her time line is a bit confusing as well. Years will pass and I don' t know they have until she mentions Richard is 18 and only a chapter before he was 14. Sometimes I'm confused by her style of describing action and get lost in her character descriptions. I do like her character descriptions. She does a good job of creating an imaginable, vivid portrait of her characters. However, she places her portraits in the middle of action. During an escape or a battle scene she stops the action to describe Richard's rosey cheek or a brave character's stature. Is this a characteristic of Gothic literature? She provides portraits of the same character repeatedly, especially Richard, Edmond, Monina, and Hernan de Faro.
At times she will mention a character's inability to speak English, yet following that announcement the same character converses with an English person. Richard eventually learns French but not until he has lived with Madeline for a while. I'm nit picking now.
I like her characters and I enjoy reading the battle scenes. However, her characters are too perfect in their chivalric representations. I'm not sure if that is on purpose or if I'm mistaken. They share many characteristics with chivalric characters; for example, they possess bravery, modesty, beauty, passion, intellect, piety, and many others. Futhermore, they exist in exagerated and idealized versions of what their counterparts might have been. In other words, her characters do not resemble reality. Her telling of history seems to be ensconced in a highly romantic, chivalric world.
I'm constantly surprised at how easily the characters fall for the plots of their enemies.
Just from making the responses to and initial research of questions and issues, my understanding of the text is better. I like responding to texts as I go anyways, but I like the prospect of conversing with the rest of the class.
Furthermore, I'm surprised at how short her chapters are and I think it would flow better if I didn't have to click back to the home page in order to start the next chapter.
All in all, I found the chapters I've read to be engaging, fun, humerous, sometimes confusing, and enjoyable. I like following the characters through the chapters, and her character portraits are entertaining and funny. Several times her characters will stop in the midst of escape and tell a story.
It would be interesting to read and compare the other Perkin Warbeck text that was published at the same time as Shelley's.
So reading on line is not fun. Luckily "Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck" makes up for the inconvience of having to strain my eyes until my head hurts. It has been such good reading that I have managed to keep moving through it, but it is difficult. I'd much rather be able to curl up on my couch with a blanket and the book and read, instead I have to sit uncomfortably with my computer in my lap. I also find it takes so much longer to read from a screen than from a piece of paper. I tend to lose my place constantly. I would much rather just buy the book than have to read from a computer screen again, even if it is convienent. I do like the convience of making notes directly to the page but that is about the only fun part. Well, got to get back to reading!
So far it has been a slow read for me because of all the adjusting of the text and it is hard to look at the screen of the computer for long periods of time. I do think that incorporating technology in the classroom is a good idea because it has become so much of who we are and what we are becoming. I also think that the blogs are a good idea, because for some it is easier to write their thoughts down on paper or computer then to speak them out loud.
Reading Mary Shelley's Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck online has definitely been an interesting experience so far. Reading it online is extremely difficult, after looking at the screen for 20 minutes in an uncomfortable desk chair, I want to be done reading! I do enjoy the novel so far, it's very confusing though.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hello and Welcome members of ENGL 637 and ENGL 438, new comers to the Web of Mind! This blog space is devoted specifically to our interests as a scholarly community interested in the Victorian period. While you are required to make at least two journal posts documenting your experiences and reactions to the online text of Mary Shelley's Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck, I hope you'll bookmark these pages and visit them often whether to trade questions and info about class, to respond to one another in an informal and friendly environment, and/or to generally carry our community outside of our classroom walls.

Just as a conversation starter, working with digital texts is not something I envisioned for myself 10 years ago. At that time I was a teaching fellow at DU and a fellow graduate student went on for what seemed like hours about how I must integrate technology into my humanities classrooms. My eyes glazed over, I made mental notes about how pompous he sounded, and I generally acted like a luddite. That he was right is undeniable. That he was a little pompous is also true. People who are right and know it generally are.

Flash forward to 2001.

Lo! The time is now, saith the Presidents of the MLA and the ALA, to learn how to defend our selves and our discipline in an era of technocratic and shrinking funding.

It's a sad fact that today the humanities are often described as non-essential to creating competitive intellects. Point and case: President Bush's recent plan to help American students exalts the importance of science and math and ignores literature, the Arts, history, etc. Now, we all know that doing science and math well depends upon being able to read and critically think. These are the very skill sets literary studies is guaranteed to fine tune. But because I don't create a better rivet, something measurable in terms of the capitalist model of product relations, I'm often confronted with the assumption that the humanities have no lasting benefit for the individual or society. I, as is obvious by now, disagree.

But that doesn't change the fact that my field is changing. Classes are migrating online, academic publishing is going digital, and fewer presses are in control of what gets published. If we are to have access to all sorts of books, technology needs to become our friend, or at least no longer be our enemy, and we need to start creating digital archives. It's no longer satisfying or practical to sneer at the techno-geek (who makes a ton more money than I do, btw) from some lofty poetical position. I have to embrace my inner technophile and see the art and possibility of reading and authoring in this new context. In my opinion, if I have to go down this path of technology and books online, which I think I do, then I want to have some control over how this technology is developed and some insight into how it works and what it can do.