Sunday, April 5, 2020

Greetings, Fans of Digital Culture!

I'm Doc McGrail. It's Sunday night, just before Spring term begins.

I'm very excited about teaching this course again. I have designed it specifically for community college students because you bring such diversity of experience into the classroom. My goal is to make this course engaging and accessible. You do need to have basic computer skills such as following directions online for setting up accounts and navigating a site such as Blogger and Google Docs. The rest of the course builds on these skills using different kinds of platforms and methods for working with literary and cultural texts.

One feature of digital culture is the way that history can feel flattened out because everything from the past seems available now.

Here's an example of something that I found in my travels through the digi-verse: most of you probably don't remember Jell-O in veggies, but it was a part of my growing-up years. I'm shocked to find out that there was an actual week assigned to putting vegetables in Jell-O. I believe any flaws in my own cooking could be related to this week:

I'm looking forward to meeting you all online this week: I look forward to seeing you develop your blogs, collaboratively annotate Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, and I look forward to seeing what kinds of objects you curate in your blog to provide an interpretive collection for the novel.

Reading Mrs. Dalloway with sound files, images, and time on my mind.

I started reading Mrs. Dalloway and this time I was looking for images and sounds or anything I came upon me that helped me to "see" or "hear" or otherwise experience this novel.

So I came up with sound files for hinges for page 1. I am posting the whole site link because I don't want to pay to download the files. But you'll get the idea.

This squeaking of the French window hinges is a memory that Clarissa heard as a young woman in the Bourton countryside. We hear these hinges too and we too are immediately--with just a quick change in tense to "so it had always seemed to her" (1)-- thrown into her past with Clarissa.

Photo credit

--and we have to follow her back to when she was a young woman of 18 years old and Peter Walsh says something to her about vegetables and cauliflowers.

Since Tesco is the British "Safeway" I included this photo of cauliflowers. And I also chose them because they look like flowers, which is really how this whole moment of reverie begins for Clarissa--with flowers.

And then I had to post Big Ben because this moment "before Big Ben strikes" (p.1)  seems to me so apt. Myself, I have this same feeling when I have woken up before an alarm clock and yet expecting it to ring. But of course, Big Ben is different--it's an alarm clock for an entire city, and so that anticipation must be felt so much more communally, or at least that's what this moment make me think of.
Here's a really good recording of it--including that "moment before Big Ben strikes": 

Time of course is a theme of interest throughout the whole novel, and the way that consciousness seems to overfill time, how only seconds--the strike of a clock--pass and we have already had memories and thoughts and joy and sorrow and worried about dinner parties and the past....this is what Woolf seems to capture in her words and which I only want to scratch the surface of here with these examples.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Fear in America 1914-1921

For my Mapping Emotions in America project demo, I chose "fear" between 1914-1921 because we are still examining Mrs. Dalloway which is written as a response to the First World War, and I thought that "fear" would be prevalent in the news at that time.

And I was right. I did expect "fear" about the war to show up. What I was surprised about was fear of food riots!

Here's the link to my Google map with "fear" in San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia.