After our conversation in class yesterday, we decided to rearrange the course schedule to allow more time to work on progress reports and the final project. Our schedule has been updated on the Schedule page. This means that some of the Explorations will need to be rearranged: I’ll update this in the Slack channel.
I was very impressed with our work yesterday: we grappled with some difficult questions about how two very different authors (Jamie Bianco and George Puttenham) deployed language to make an argument. Here are a few of the conclusions we reached:
For Puttenham, who is concerned with beautiful language and how it advances the persuasive force of the orator, the argument comes to reside the beauty of the argument. Regardless of content, the argument is in the words: and the book’s argument is that the beauty of the argument is the most important part. Puttenham’s text is both instructional manual in rhetorical beautification and an enactment of how beautiful language persuades. Reaching this metalevel of literary argument led us to Bianco’s article in DHQ: written in HTML and requiring the reader to move her mouse and click over the text in order to reveal the next sentence and the supporting quotations, here form informs content; more, some content is hidden by the form. In fact, this raised the question, just what is hidden behind the word?? Hidden histories, playing with the interface to gain information. We harkened back to a previous discussion of Derridean linguistic theory: every word contains all of the meanings it has ever had. Behind Bianco’s HTML code, behind Puttenham’s gorgeous exargasia, hidden linguistic histories bolster how we understand present meaning.