20.388 editing (not) obsolete

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 07:31:37 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 20, No. 388.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

   [1] From: "hinton_at_springnet1.com" <hinton_at_springnet1.com> (10)
         Subject: Re: 20.384 is editing obsolete?

   [2] From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk> (77)
         Subject: obsolescence

         Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 07:14:01 +0000
         From: "hinton_at_springnet1.com" <hinton_at_springnet1.com>
         Subject: Re: 20.384 is editing obsolete?

Jim, Time -- at least traditionally , I haven't read one in years --
offered a particular problem, since all the writing was processed
into "TIMEspeak", with its peculiar high instance of VSO sentences,
plethora of adjectives, and adverbs. etc. ("backward ran sentences
till reeled the mind"- I think it was F. P. Adams who said it.)

And editorial slants snuck in grammatically -- someone once said that
Eisenhower would be described as "striding purposefully" even if he
were simply going to brush his teeth.

Individual style, even when people like Agee were writing, turned
into a sort of Velveeta cheese for the mind.

         Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 07:28:07 +0000
         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
         Subject: obsolescence

Jim O'Donnell, in Humanist 20.384, asks "is=20
editing obsolete?" and hopes for a good answer.=20
Here are some thoughts at least, and some questions.

As I recall, in the great rush of enthusiasm for=20
the ability of digital editions to offer up=20
images of all source material and their promise=20
of automatic tools, scholarly editing was=20
declared dead. Although the idea of a digital=20
edition is still forming, it seems clear that the=20
reports were greatly exaggerated.

Another recollection. Humanist was created and=20
its manner in large measure determined by a=20
reaction against the aggressively sloppy=20
editorial practices (if they could be called=20
that) of some "bulletin boards" then sending out=20
whatever bits and scraps of information about=20
computing could be found. Humanist's editorial=20
practice was and is to set the kind of tone that=20
a scholarly publication should have and so to=20
invite the same. As it happened, people then gave=20
it their best and continue to do so.

Two of such swallows do not make a summer, but=20
they suggest an answer. Perhaps it's best to be=20
cautious about generalizing from Time Magazine's=20
example. Perhaps we should consider what sort of=20
publication Time is, what social function(s) it=20
has performed and whether, these having changed=20
or moved to other venues, the editors of Time are=20
responding in consequence. The impact of the=20
Internet on publishing we know to be huge, but we=20
also know it to be complex. What about other=20
publications of the newsy and gossipy nature,=20
such as US News and World Report, Newsweek,=20
Private Eye or Der Spiegel? What's happening with=20
them? Does the socio-economic status of their=20
readerships make a difference -- i.e. are the=20
changes being clearly felt by publications whose=20
readers can be assumed to be intimate with the=20
Internet? Do reactions vary by national culture?

Geoffrey Nunberg, in "Farewell to the Information=20
observes that with the Internet discussion groups,

>There is, first, the opening up of the right to=20
>speak. The lists reverse the effects of
>nineteenth-century immurement and=20
>professionalization of the disciplines that Raymond
>Williams described as a transition from the=20
>republic of letters to the bureaucracy of
>letters, where a writer can no longer speak as=20
>himself, but "must continually declare his
>style and department, and submit to an=20
>examination of his purpose and credentials at the
>frontier to every field." (Williams, 1983,=20
>p.121). It's is not just that the lists permit the
>participation of interested amateurs (the=20
>"virtuosi" of the age of Pepys and Wren). They
>also remove the burden of professionalism that=20
>was imposed in the nineteenth century to
>limit the published discourse of the sciences to=20
>descriptions of its "subject matter" and
>purge it of critical self-consideration. The=20
>amateur epistemologizing and sociologizing, the
>pedagogical and technical lore, the gossip and=20
>the professional politics, the anecdotal
>observations about curiosities that lie outside=20
>the realm of current theory =97 all these
>come bubbling back up into public view from of=20
>the orality where they have been
>repressed for the past two hundred years.

It's that "bubbling up" that's rocking the boat=20
whose instability Jim's observation is interestingly pointing to.


Dr Willard McCarty | Reader in Humanities=20
Computing | Centre for Computing in the=20
Humanities | King's College London | http://staff.cch.kcl.ac.uk/~wmccarty/.
Received on Wed Jan 10 2007 - 02:45:45 EST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Wed Jan 10 2007 - 02:45:45 EST