Culture Magazine

Keeping Track of Myself – Lit Crit, #DH, Prospero, Metagramming, Cultural Evolution

By Bbenzon @bbenzon
I’ve completed to of the items that entered my to-do list last week:
  • Virtual reading as a path through a multidimensional-dimensional semantic space: This is a development from the post, In search of a small world net: Computing an emblem in Heart of Darkness [#DH]. Though it’s a bit rough, and rather longer than I’d expected – surprise! surprise! – I like it. I plan to add a thing or two to it when I include it in a working paper.
  • Reply to a traditional critic about computational criticism: Or, It’s time to escape the prison-house of critical language: I really like this, another one that ran longer than I’d expected. I managed to work it around to description in a satisfying way. This will go into that working paper as well.
And that means I’ve now got a new working paper on my to-do list. The working title is: Virtual Reading: The Prospero Project Redux. It will include the two previous posts, plus the one on a small-world net in Heart of Darkness. I’ll need to write an introduction, one that will be based on the old hypothetical Prospero Project which Dave Hays and I introduced in our 1976 paper, Computational Linguistics and the Humanist.
NEW item: I need to do a post on the text as conceived by cognitive science, which would pick up on the drubbing I gave to the spatial metaphorics of the text (inside, outside, surface, hidden, etc.) in my reply. Depending on just when I do this post, it may also be a part of the VR working paper.
OLD item: How do humanists understand computational criticism (aka ‘distant reading’): But I’m working toward it. This may also be part of the VR working paper.
NEW item: I’d like to do a shortish (I hope!) post explicating Tim Morton’s ethical quartet: 1. You're not guilty. 2. If you can understand it, you're responsible for it. 3. Try increasing pleasures. 4. We're all roughly the same.
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I got a nice surprise. I forget just what I was up to, but I decided to do a search for an old tech report that Dave Hays and I did under a small Air Force contract in 1979-80 or so. I found it, posted it to my page, and wrote up a post: Metagram Software - A New Perspective on the Art of Computation.
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Old items that are ticking along:
  • Description and Form in Literary Analysis: The Case of Heart of Darkness: This is a major task and will be ongoing until it’s done.
  • Lit Crit, Identity, & the Curriculum in the 21st Century: Perhaps one or two posts here.
  • Open letter to John Lawler about Cultural Evolution: This is my next big push, even before the VR working paper. Hope to knock it out over the Labor Day weekend.
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The hit count at New Savanna has plummeted over the weekend, dropping to 996 last Thursday and to a low of 478 on Saturday. Here’s the last week:
Aug-30 week 10-30AM
And the last month:
Aug-30 month 10-20AM
I’m guessing this is an end-of summer slump that may well last through Labor Day as most of my traffic is from the USA. When it comes back up, where will it go, to 4000 hits a day, plus or minus, or, say 8000? Who knows?

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