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Class 4 Notes

Page history last edited by Jim Donelan 15 years, 5 months ago

Preliminary Class Business



  • Franco Moretti, Graphs, Maps, Trees (2005), pp. 35-64, 91-92
  • Stephen Ramsay, "In Praise of Pattern" (2005)
  • Also: in-class introduction to mapping software


Review and Addendum

  • Immanuel Kant: "Whatever conception of the freedom of the will one may form in terms of metaphysics, the will's manifestations in the world of phenomena, i.e. human actions, are determined in accordance with natural laws, as is every other natural event. History is concerned with giving an account of these phenomena, no matter how deeply concealed their causes may be, and it allows us to hope that, if it examines the free exercise of the human will on a large scale, it will be able to discover a regular progression among freely willed actions." (Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose, 1784, excerpted in Bubner, German Idealist Philosophy (London: Penguin, 1997), p. 55)


  • Fernand Braudel: "We must beware of that history which still simmers with the passions of contemporaries who felt it, described it, lived it, to the rhythm of their brief lives, lives as brief as their own. It has the dimensions of their anger, their dreams, their illusions." (Preface to The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II)


  • Nagel and Newman on Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem: "...given any consistent set of arithmetical axioms, there are true mathematical statements that cannot be derived from the set... Even if the axioms of arithmetic are augmented by an indefinite number of other true ones, there will always be further mathematical truths that are not formally derivable from the augmented set."


  • "There is no way of taking conclusively established pure protocol sentences as the starting point of the sciences. No tabula rasa exists. We are like sailors who must rebuild their ship on the open sea, never able to dismantle it in dry-dock and to reconstruct it there out of the best materials. Only the metaphysical elements can be allowed to vanish without trace." (Otto Neurath, "Protocol sentences," in Logical Positivism, edited by A.J. Ayer, Free Press, Glencoe, IL, 1959, pp. 199-208, there p. 201)


1. The Meaning of Maps



2. Subway Maps



3. Editorial Maps



4. Literary Maps



5. Moretti, Graphs, Maps, Trees


  • "What do literary maps do...First, they are a good way to prepare a text for analysis. You choose a unit--walks, lawsuits, luxury goods, whatever--find the occurrences, place them in space...or in other words: you reduce the text to a few elements, and abstract them from the narrative flow, and construct a new, artificial object like the maps that I have been discussing. And with a little luck, these maps will be more than the sum of their parts..." (53)


  •   "...the models I have presented also share a clear preference for explanation over interpretation; or perhaps, better, for the explanation of general structures over the interpretation of individual texts. (91)


  • "Were I to choose a common denominator for all these attempts, I would probably choose: a materialist conception of form." (92)


6. Ramsay, "In Praise of Pattern"


  • "The apparently objective realms of mathematics and computing cn be made to fit with the insistently subjective processes of interpretation precisely because computational processes, when motivated by interpretive questins, are already fully aligned with the imperatives of humanistic inquiry. (177-178)


  • "Some might argue that a good humanities research methodology should help to take the serendipity out of this process. But when it comes to exegetical work, serendipity often is the process." (181)


  • "...I might have written an article detailing the various complexities of the scene dynamics in Shakespeare's plays and its implications for interpreting Shakespeare....My point mgiht then have been merely to detail the various consequences of each possibility--perhaps only to marvel at the diverse nature of the exegetical landscape. But I was trying to teach a computer to grapple with these matters, and the computer forces one to choose. It will not figure it out, and it will not accept half measures." (182)


  • "The goal is to say something new, provocative, noteworthy, challenging, inspiring--to put these texts back into play as artifacts reconstituted by reading." (189)


Mapping Tools



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