Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Poetry and Prosaic

I'm attending a conference in Canberra (Digital Humanities Australasia 2012) and true to my fate it's raining (while back home, Ireland is experiencing an unseasonal heat wave). And I have a sore throat (pesky air conditioning).
Yesterday I was at some workshops, the first on data management. When put in groups to discuss our experiences, one rather over the top guy declared 'I have a great data management tool on my Mac. I'm not sure if it's available on the PC'. He then proceeded to show the Finder window. I inwardly screamed and wondered if I had travelled halfway round the world to visit the Dark Ages and a collection of village fools. Thankfully he was the only village fool there and a very real one. In contrast some head of humanities tried to explain markup to me; I had to stop her very early on -I'm dealing with markup for over 16 years - but one has to wonder.
This morning the keynote was delivered by Alan Liu from California. A wonderful presentation, he tried to make the case for a continuum between the New Criticism of Cleanth Brooks and the distant reading approaches that characterise digital humanities scholarship. It may not have entirely convinced, but it was wonderful. Coincidentally his analysis of a poem by Wyatt, 'They Flee from me', reminded me of a chapter in Gladwell's 'Blink', a book I am currently reading. He noted the words that convey the narrative of the poem without explicitly telling it. Gladwell recounts the priming of students in an experiment, where a simple word test prepared volunteers to behave in a particular way. The narrative was prepared without being explicitly stated, the readers unconsciously loaded with a way of behaving. Isn't this the same mechanism at work?


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