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Textual Conditions

ENGL 774.401
instructor(s):
M 12-3
CPCW 111

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An overview of some of the aesthetic and literary implications of technologies for the reproduction and storage of verbal language, with special reference to twentieth century poetry and poetics. Material on the Homeric age will probably start with Havelock's How the Muse Learned to Write work and, possibly, Gregory Nagy's Poetry as Performance. On the history of the alphabet more generally: Drucker and George Jean. Drucker would return also, with her work on he significance of the visual representation of language. The work of Jerome McGann would figure prominently, especially his book The Textual Condition and his related work on textual and bibliographic scholarship. Twentieth century "media" theory would be represented by McLuhan and Innis, Benjamin and Cavell, possibly Ong, but esp. Kittler's Gramophone, Film, Typewriter. I will address recent work on emergence of digital reproduction and the Internet, including digital poetry, specifically though a consideration of the essays in Elizabeth Bergmann Loizeaux and Neil Fraistat edited collection, Imagining Textuality: Textual Studies in the Late Age of Print. Our creation at Penn of an audio archive of digital poetry readings, PennSound, might come into this and also a book I edited: Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word. I also plan to cover such developments as sound, visual and digital poetry (and the related question of digital archives and editions of poetry). I would expect this to relate to work of other in the department on the history of the book; in that context, I am thinking of Chaydor's From Script to Print and also Kittay and Godzich's The Emergence of Prose.