Some Thoughts on Combining Close and Distant Reading, Markup and Algorithms

I’m a little under the weather, so this post might not be as coherent as I’d like, but I want to get it up before I get overwhelmed by the what is likely to be a very busy few days.

Over the weekend, I decided that an interesting exercise for my students reading the Alliterative Morte Arthure would be to have them compare two very different approaches to the poem, Kateryna Alexandra Rudnytzky’s article on Arthur’s battle with the giant of Mont Saint Michel, and Patricia DeMarco’s “An Arthur for the Ricardian Age”. The one examines the poem in terms of the transformation of its source material and connections with literary analogues; the other focuses on the poem’s engagement with military history. Both approaches add depth to our understanding of the text and its place in the medieval literary and cultural world, yet they are based on exactly the sorts of observations that students cannot make because they have not had the opportunity to read widely. Students are forced to read a few texts, those for which there is time during a single semester, in a virtual vacuum. Naturally, that’s why we have professors–to assign secondary literature and to draw students’ attention to this type of knowledge in class.… Read more…

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