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,

Aaron
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.