Monday, 28 November 2011

Blogoshpere 21 November – 27 November

Last week the Early Modern set turned out to be the most productive. This set includes a large number of Shakespeare-posts featuring sources, sonnets, forging Shakespeare and an anti-Stratfordian polemic writing. Besides Shakespeare I also liked three other pieces of news: two databases and a CFP. Though less in number, I’ve found three interesting posts in Digital Humanities too: two posts about sharing (academic blogging and code), while the third one calls attention to a free online course at Stanford University.

Early Modern Studies:

1. Liz Dollimore in her Shakespeare’s Sources series, now “Henry V” wrote about a scene, the battle of wit between Henry and three traitors. She argues that besides Holinshed, it is a contemporary letter by “Dr. William Parry who was executed on the morning of 2nd March 1584 for attempting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I” that lies in the background of the scene.

2. Sylvia Morris last week wrote about Shakespeare’s The Passionate Pilgrim. What is really fascinating in this post, “The mysterious Passionate Pilgrim and Shakespeare” is that she presents two variants of sonnet 138, one from The Passionate Pilgrim and another from the 1609 Q edition, and claims that the differences between the two reveal something about the poet at work.

3. Stuart Ian Burns reviews Shakespeare's Poems (Arden Shakespeare: Third Revised Edition). Edited by Katherine Duncan-Jones. His conclusion is telling enough to function as an appetiser for the review and the book as well: “Based more closely than usual on the 1609 Quarto (the exclamation mark is back in Sonnet 123, “No! Time though shalt not boast that I do change…”), each is presented with extensive notes on the facing page with a short explanatory note at the top. These compasses prove invaluable for navigating Shakespeare’s fragmentary maps of the human heart, another helping hand for those of us who’ve become lost along the way.”

4. Adam G. Hooks’s post, “Faking Shakespeare (Part 3): Authentic Shakespeare, Authentic Ireland,” presents great examples of 18th-century forgeries of Shakespeare with pictures of the documents.

5. For the sake of commentary and interest I mention a document of the counter-counter attack in the authorship debate. This is a similar work in its intentions to Stanley Wells’ and Paul Edmondson’s Shakespeare Bites Back: Not So Anonymous but as far as quality and force of arguments are concerned it is of lower quality. The document, entitled: Exposing an Industry in Denial: Authorship doubters respond to “60 Minutes with Shakespeare,” despite the similarity responds—as the title makes this clear—to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s “60 Minutes”- project.

6. This is very interesting and useful database: The Diplomatic Correspondence of Thomas Bodley, 1585-1597. It is worth browsing, playing with it. There is a variety of ways defined in advance to search the database.

7. Thanks to Sharon Howard at Early Modern Resources for The Universal Short Title Catalogue (USTC), which is a collective database of all books published in Europe between the invention of printing and the end of the sixteenth century. #emdatabase

8. Last but not least, this is a CFP for a conference and an interesting initiative: “The  3rd International Conference of the European Society for Early Modern Philosophy will be devoted to the following theme: Debates, Polemics and Controversies in Early Modern Philosophy (January 30th to February 2nd, 2013, Université de Grenoble, France). The general objective of the conference is to take an overview of the present historiographical situation regarding the study of controversies and to contribute to a reappraisal of the study of controversies in the history of early modern philosophy.”

Digital Humanities:

1. Ernesto Priego, in his “’I Smell Smoke’: Blogging as an Endangered Species” at HASTAC argues that academic blogging may disappear in the long run, as it is too laborious not to be recognised at all by institutions as a form of academic output.

2. Jeremy Boggs’s blog post “Participating in the Bazaar: Sharing Code in the Digital Humanities” should convince everybody that sharing the source code is the future for Digital Humanities. He makes his case with arguments from his own experience along with more theoretical ones, and thus ends the post claiming: “We should share our code so others can learn from us, and so we can learn from others. More than anything, though, we should share code because it’s academic work, and I think academic work should be shared openly, critiqued, and improved.”

3. This is a pioneering enterprise at Stanford University, i.e. a free online course about “Natural Language Processing.” The course is managed and taught by Chris Manning and Dan Jurafsky, and the class starts January 23rd 2012.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Blogosphere 14 November - 20 November

Last week was a fascinating week in the blogosphere indeed, which is not only reflected in the number of the posts but also in the variety of genres. The "Early Modern" group contains posts demonstrating that the authorship debate rolled on last week with six posts, from serious to really funny ones. Beyond the debate there are two more posts about aspects of the Shakespearean oeuvre, plus I found a snippet on William Harrison and a database on 16th-century Scottish letters. In the “Digital Humanities” set I have included posts on geo-spatial data, JSTOR, traditional editing and/versus per-review, furthermore on TEI, theory and practice, and video-presentations on digital tools in the literature classroom. The "Others" category features two ProfHacker posts.

Early Modern Studies:

1. The Shakespeare authorship discussion witnesses posts with an immense sense of humour. An example for this is Shaul Bessi’s post “Anonymous Venetian” at Blogging Shakespeare. This post should be read from beginning to the end, as the turn comes at the end!

2. Another related post is entitled “Chronological List of References to Shakespeare as Author/Poet/Playwright” which speaks for itself. The webpage lists painstakingly the early references to Shakespeare. This may be a useful source for those interested in this problematics.

3. Brian Dunning’s post, “Finding Shakespeare” at Skeptoid argues for the Stratfordian cause.

4. Pat Donelly in her “William Shakespeare, as Anonymous as Réjean Ducharme?” also argues for Shakespeare being Shakespeare. She does this from the actor’s perspective, and also is happy to say that the authorship debate, though superfluous, does good to the less known Elizabethan authors.

5. Eric Idle’s “Who Wrote Shakespeare?” in The New Yorker is just a great piece of writing: both a funny take in the authorship debate, but at the same time a bitter criticism of the anti-stratfordian camp.

6. To round off this week’s posts on the authorship question, let me finish with “Shakespeare tops list of symbols giving Britons pride” at BBC News UK. This article nicely winds up the debate as it claims that “Some 75% agreed with the sentence ’I am proud of William Shakespeare as a symbol of Britain’,” referring to the interrelatedness of Shakespeare and patriotism.

7. Another Shakespeare related post, by Liz Dollimore this time, at Blogging Shakespeare is about King John and its relation to Holinshed’s Chronicles. The post is entitled “Shakespeare’s Sources – King John.”, and is one among the many interesting source posts with quotations from both the source and the play as well.

8. Stanley Well’s illuminating post explores the theme of “eyes” and “seeing” in the Shakespearean oeuvre: “Shakespeare and the Senses: The Pain of Seeing.”

9. Dainty Ballerina’s snippet at Shakespeare’s England entitled “Witches are hanged, or sometimes burned” quotes from W. Harrison’s A description of England as far as crime and punishment were treated in 16th-century England.

10. This week I came across with The Breadalbane Collection, i.e. a collection of letters written in the 16th century revealing “Scottish everyday life” in the given period.

Digital Humanities:

1. Stefan Sinclair’s post “The (Nearly) Immediate Gratification of Playing with Geospatial Data” presents the way how he created an interactive map: “XML to CSV, CSV to BatchGeo to add geo-location data, and there we have a map. An amazing transformation from static XML data to an interactive map.”

2. JSTOR released for free the Early Journal Content for the sake of data mining, as their “Early Journal Content Data Bundle” announces. “The data bundle for EJC includes full-text OCR and article and title-level metadata.” This should make the database rather invaluable for those researching the early phase of journal production.

3. I highly recommend to everybody Mark Sample’s and Shannon Mattern’s video presentations exploring the theme: Digital Humanities in the Classroom, or maybe digital projects at literature classes instead of seminar papers.

4. Dan Cohen’s post, What Will Happen to Developmental Editing? meditates about the future of editing, insomuch as developmental editing and peer-review are concerned. I also recommend the comments as well, coming from publishers. Hopefully, there is going to be either a golden mean between the two opposing views or a radically different solution. Nevertheless, Cohen’s position is rather innovative and rather forward-looking.

5. Hugh Cayless’s post “Scriptio Continua: TEI in other formats; part the second: Theory” is the second in the series exploring the uses of TEI. The post presents a difficult case when a damaged text was amended, and this is signalled with the TEI conventions. Reflecting on the capabilities of TEI leads to revealing theoretical underpinnings, or governing principles. One of the statements that I liked the best is this one: “There is no end of work to be done at this level, of joining theory to practice, and a great deal of that work involves hacking, experimenting with code and data.


1. Anastasia Salter’s post, “Breaking out of Triage Mode” at ProfHacker is a consoling paper, really. Most of the time, facing big tasks to deal with, it is just consoling to be reminded that shadow-work can be, should be overcome to get down to projects: “Small goals,” “Keep projects visible” and “Control your time-killers.”

2. Lincoln Mullen wrote an informative post, “Fix PDFs Quickly with pdftk,” again at ProfHacker, giving thus help to those who intend to play and work with Pdf documents. The choice this time is Pdf Toolkit, a command-line application running on Windows, Mac OS X, Ubuntu Linux etc.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Blogosphere 7 November-13 November

Below is a subjective—painfully incomplete—list of what happened last week in the academic blogosphere. I have put the individual items of the list into three categories: Early Modern Studies, Digital Humanities and Others, although I am aware that this categorization is erroneous, as whatever appears in the Early Modern set, may also appear in the Digital Humanities as well, since everything that is listed under Early Modern Studies is related to the digital world, thus with a generous heart could be related to Digital Humanities as well. For the sake of helping those who will read this review, still I have distinguished between these categories with the principle in mind that if a blog-post is related in any ways to EMS, it will end up in that category, and those DH posts that focus on aspects of DH and have nothing to do with EMS will be placed in the DH category. The third category consists of items that belong to neither categories, such as posts or applications that I have come across and found beneficial.

Early Modern Studies:

Last week seemed to revolve around Shakespeare, which may be due to the tempest around the authorship debate. Statistically speaking the next issue is Early Modern Philosophy focusing on questions of angelology and Newton’s natural philosophy.

1-2. Sylvia Morris contributed with two posts to Shakespeare in the blogosphere. First The Shakespeare blog hits 100!” she announced that she has arrived at the 100th blog post at The Shakespeare Blog. Congratulations to her for this. 
Second her next post discusses Robin Hood before, in, and after Shakespeare. Robin Hood and Shakespeare.

3. Holger Syme: Shakespearean Mythbusting II: The Fantasy of Astonishing Erudition is the authors second post in his Shakespearean Mythbusting series, in which the author argues against the anti-Stratfordian position in the authorship debate triggered by the release of Anonymous. In this second post, Holger Syme clarifies the claim that “Shakespeare wasn’t immensely erudite,” along with arguing for Shakespeare’s linguistic virtuosity, his knowledge of foreign languages, sources of information.

4. Paul Edmondson’s post “Creating Shakespeare’s Life”  at Blogging Shakespeare calls attention to Graham Holderness’s book, Nine Lives of William Shakespeare, along with an audio recording where the Holderness speaks about his book.

5-6. Stefan Heßbrüggen-Walter published two posts in his Early Modern Angels series at Early Modern Thought Online: the Blog. This week he published part 3: Early Modern Angels (III): Natural and supernatural angels in Leibniz, focusing now on Leibniz (after Hobbes and Descartes, the champions of the previous posts), and number 4: Early Modern Angels (IV): The ‘Fundamental Angelological Problem’, i.e. a post the draws the conclusions following from the previous three parts. In this post, last but one in the series, he explores the problem of integrating angels into a world view with mechanistic underpinnings.

6. Joad Raymond’s obituary at Early Modern News Networks is a moving post about Kevin Sharpe (1949-2011) who passed away on 5 November 2011. Kevin Sharpe was a scholar of Early Modern culture focusing on many aspects of Early Modern Studies with books from a monograph on Sir Robert Cotton (1979), to his outstanding Reading Revolutions (2000).

7. At Early Modern Experimental Philosophy one may read an illuminating post “The Aims of Newton’s Natural Philosophy,” exploring the difference between “what Newton wants to achieve, and what he thinks he can achieve” with reference to the General Scholium to the Principia (1713).

Digital Humanities:

The DH posts meditate about reform in higher education, on the importance of social media in academic blogging, on academic blogging, theory, web searches and historical research in the digital environment.

1. Bethany Nowviskie, published her “it starts on day one“ on the reform of Higher Education.

2-3. Digital Humanities Now featured last week—among many other things—two interesting posts listing contributions to two topics. One is entitled “OpenAccess and Social Media” gathering six fascinating takes on “the effects of social media on open access scholarship” at . The second one, “Digital Humanities and Theory Round-up Part II,” refers to fourteen posts illuminating different aspects of the relationship between DH and theory.

4. Natalia Cecire, who is a postdoctoral fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University, showcases an interesting discussion on Twitter triggered by Patrick Murray-John’s post “Theory, DH, and Noticing.” This post rightly captures and presents the advantages of a scholarly discussion disciplined by the 140-character limitation.

4. Laura Larsell’s post “How Hashtagging the Web Could Improve Our Collective Intelligence” at Mashable discusses the advantages of the decision of the Library of Congress (2010) to archive tweets, and meditates about web searches functioning similarly to searches with hashtags in Twitter.

5. Tim Hitchcock in his “Historyonics” problematizes the discipline of history as is practiced in the digital age via claiming that historians “have restricted themselves to asking only the kind of questions books can answer.”

6. Dan Dohen highlights two writings on academic blogging in his “Evans and Cebula on Academic Blogging.”


What I found the most interesting cloud-based service last week was Spideroak, which is similar to Dropbox in a variety of respects.

1. Those who are of losing their documents, and are not friends of Dropbox, should check out Spideroak. Spideroak is similar to Dropbox, in many respects, such as offering 2 GB for free, automatic synchronisation, but for Spideroak one does not have to create a separate folder as with Dropbox, but clicks on the folders to be stored in the cloud as well and Spideroak does the rest.