Voyeur Tools

I mostly applied the program to readings of The Smart Set. I plugged any words to do with gender, from obvious ones like "men v. women" to less obvious terms like maid or butler.

It was interesting to see how engendered terms actually seemed to increase with each subsequent issue. While I couldn't see any clear pattern to whether one gender was preferred over the other, I thought was most interesting was thinking about why gendered terms became more prevalent in later issues. My assumption would be that The Smart Set, the self proclaimed magazine of cleverness, often flourished when their pieces were biting satire of social norms. As the style of the journal became more developed and focused, it was cool to see the writers taking a more vested interest in dissecting gender roles in early American culture.

The Little Review through Gephi

One of biggest distinctions between digital and traditional on-the-page literature is the way in which we read. It's interesting to see how the same pages, only in one version digitized instead of bound together as paper can be read completely differently. There are several studies done on brain activity and reading patterns, suggesting that the mere addition of a digital screen affects the way our brains read text. The webpage-format of most text, hyperlinks, have all made reading something digitally a more scattered and big-picture ordeal. We're used to navigating the internet by quickly skimming multiple things at once, as opposed to the more start-to-finish reading of a physical text.

But it's this difference that also allows us to take a step back and really map out the connections between issues that readers in the 1910's would have missed. The myriad of ways that poetry and death crop up are subtle, but are actually apparently some of the strongest thematic motivators for the series as a whole.

Bibliographic Coding in The Smart Set

What attracted me to The Smart Set specifically was it's self-proclaimed wit, the cover always subheadlined with "A Magazine of Cleverness" This kind of self-aware almost-pretentiousness, I think, is an interesting tone that most might consider to be more representative of contemporary writing. I wanted to see what kind of snobbish, high-culture wit was like back in the early 1900's.

The specific issue I picked was the 4th issue of the 50th volume, dated December of 1916. I picked this one because I wanted to get a feel for the magazine later in it's run, assumably when it's readership and subsequently the writers who submitted material would have developed a pretty consistent idea of what the journal was like stylistically.

Stolen Time Archive

In communications, information is seen as a resistance to the natural entropy of the world. Patterns and facts are ways that we impose order on an otherwise chaotic and shifting reality. An archive then, is a physical manifestation of this concept. Through the categorization and storage of information, we build a structure from which we can base some sort of continuous identity. But how does the accessibility of a given archive influence it's effectiveness. 

On the surface, the assumption is that the ease at which a given person can access necessary information is directly proportional to it's utility. While I'd agree, the Stolen Time Archive is special in that it is purposefully counter-intuitive and obtuse, but to what end? One might argue that the creation of archives themselves is inherently 'stealing time'. By imposing order on our naturally chaotic world, we're essentially 'stealing time' by creating long-lasting time-biased media. The whole concept of an archive is to defeat the inevitable erosion that time enacts on everything. This archive then, sort of steals time back from us. A reminder that the world isn't necessarily easily categorized and no matter how much we try to impose our version of reality, we should always be wary of connections that aren't readily apparent.

A Fire Truck, An Elephant, and A Hot Air Balloon in London

I mapped the climactic pursuit in G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday. The route begins in France and leads to the middle of London before finally exiting to south of London. Chesterton provides a lot of detail with streets and landmarks in his description, which I greatly appreciated. He also had a couple of discrepancies: he describes a French seaside town named Lancy, but the only Lancy Google returned is in the heart of France. Similarly, he describes traveling about five miles out of London to Surrey, but the Surrey that Google Maps pinpointed is almost 20 miles from their original location.

This map really illuminated the (literally) loopy route Sunday leads the detectives on in their pursuit. Though I've read Thursday multiple times, I was always more focused on the modes of transportation - a fire truck, an elephant, and a hot air balloon - than in the locations they traveled through. Seeing the map, but also seeing the neighborhoods they pass through, emphasizes the spectacle Chesterton is trying to portray. This was no side-street chase - Sunday's path passes through fashionable Hyde Park and aristocratic South Kensington. Navigating through these neighborhoods would have drawn immense attention to the group and further heightened the bizarre nature of their quest.

Map of Maria's route in James Joyce's "Clay"

In Joyce's short story, "Clay," Maria goes on a journey from the laundry (a home/recovery center for women) where she works in the kitchen to visit her friends, the Donnellys. Interestingly, Maria's route is very nearly the inverse of the route taken by the boy in "Araby." Assuming I have the approximate locations correct, Maria's journey begins and ends within a half mile of the boy's starting and ending points. The only really major difference is that Maria goes north on her trip and the boy goes south. Both characters are very excited about their journey, greatly build it up, and then are disappointed in the end.

Richmond Street Today

What intrigued me about the story was the descriptions of the author's home street. It's particularly interesting to me how a geographical location, like a street, can seem so foreign to me but be the center of routine for someone else. I wanted to focus on how the it looks today, and what has survived since then. So I plotted out the areas surrounding the street, attaching pictures and descriptions of what those places are like now.

I was mostly surprised to find that the school mentioned, established in the early 1800's, is still operating today. So even though the city itself has changed, the people have changed, Joyce's description of a street that is quiet for most of the day except for when school gets out, is still applicable today. Things like infrastructure, buildings, etc, these are all things we assume to be the most robust over long periods of time. So it's interesting that even though the buildings and the street itself might look different, that moment, the concept of excitied children rushing out as school ends, is the most timeless aspect of North Richmond Street.

 

Amsterdam in The Fault in Our Stars

I mapped the destinations of Hazel and Augustus while they're in Amsterdam in the novel The Fault in Our Stars. I've mapped the airport they arrive at and leave from, the hotel they stay at, the restaurant they eat at, Van Hounten's house, the Anne Frank House, and the park they go to near the end of their trip.

I was surprised that everything was a lot closer than I thought it was while reading the book, especially considering that the time spent in Amsterdam accounts for 63 pages of the book, which is a little over 20 percent. Hazel has lung cancer and it is difficult for her to walk very far, so I knew that it couldn't have been that much walking, but I still thought it was more than it was. The farthest they went was to the Anne Frank house, which was only 1.15 miles away, and they rode in a car. To Oranjee, the restaurant, they rode the tram, and that was less than a mile away. The furthest that they walked was to the park half a block from their hotel. I thought it was weird to see how small this map really was because reading the book, it seems like they're going really far because so much happens in the time they are travelling, but they're actually not.

Using Google Maps with My Favorite Book

I used Google Maps to map the locations, fictional homes placed in real towns, of my favorite novel, Pride and Prejudice.  I used points to show the different locations mentioned, with different colors representing different homes or towns.  I also used the map to show the probably route that Elizabeth Bennet travels with her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners.  All of the locations from their trip are in the same color of blue to show the route that they took.  Unlike in Araby, there are no clear directions in the novel as to exactly their path, but multiple cities and towns are mentioned that they stop through.  So, I mapped the towns and drew a connect-the-dots-style pathway between them to suggest how they might have traveled.  

Using Google maps to trace my favorite book gave me a whole new perspective on the story.  I had not realized just how far away everything was from each other.  When reading the novel, distance didn't seem to me to be an incredible factor.  I assumed that all the towns mentioned were relatively near each other location-wise.  I had no idea that Rosings Park and Pemberley were 145 miles apart, as the crow flies. I would have thought that they were much closer, seeing as how Darcy just shows up at his aunt's house because he wants to.  I would have thought that London would have been a bit farther from Longbourne than 22 miles, since the Bingley's early withdrawal to town created so much drama for the small town.  Using the map is a whole new way to experience the story, to learn more about what life was like for the characters.  I really enjoyed this project!

The Faces of Dublin

I have to say, I've been quite captivated by my wandering through the streets of Dublin. I've been pretty shocked by the juxtaposition of old and new. The picture below is what the boy would have most likely seen as he walked down Buckingham St towards the station:

 

This is Connolly Station. The building looks like it hasn't been altered too much, so I assume that this is what the boy would have seen also:

 

 

It's really cool seeing some of these buildings and streets and getting the feeling of walking through them in person. I can only imagine what character these faces take on at night. I bet that the streets of Dublin could be quite eerie (or at least to me) in the dark. If only Street View had a night feature...

 

 

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