Lecture Supplementary Materials

Lecture Supplementary Materials for English 25
(S 2023)

Literature and the Information, Media, & Communication Revolutions

The following are selected ideas and materials mentioned in Professor Liu’s lectures. They are notes designed to supplement a student’s study of the lectures and slides. (Slides contain many of the same materials, but not in a notes style.)

rev. 9 April 2022

I. Overture — Across the Ages of Media / Communication / Information

Lecture 1 (Introduction to the Course)

* From William Wordsworth, The Prelude (1805), Book 6: 528-45 —

Imagination!—lifting up itself
Before the eye and progress of my song
Like an unfathered vapour, here that power,
In all the might of its endowments, came
Athwart me. I was lost as in a cloud,
Halted without a struggle to break through,
And now, recovering, to my soul I say
‘I recognise thy glory’. In such strength
Of usurpation, in such visitings
promise, when the light of sense
Goes out in flashes that have shewn to us
The invisible world, doth greatness make abode,
There harbours whether we be young or old.
Our destiny, our nature, and our home,
Is with infinitude—and only there;
With hope it is, hope that can never die,
Effort, and expectation, and desire,
And something evermore about to be.

* IBM’s “Can You See It?” advertising campaign (2003)

  • For more information, see these pages:   | .

Lecture 2 (The Idea of Media)

Historical Table of Media, Communication, & Computing Ages


* Google Ngram Viewer

  • To reproduce the Ngram Viewer search that the professor showed in lecture for the frequency of the terms “information,” “communication,” and “media” and/or “medium” from 1900 to 2000 in the English-language corpus of Google Books, enter the following as the search string: information, communication, media+medium (and set the date parameters to begin at 1900). Below is a live view of the results of that search:
  •  For fun, try entering your own search terms in the Ngram Viewer.  For fancy options, such as searching with wildcards, by parts of speech, by position at beginning or end of sentence, by inflection (all forms of a word), etc., see the “About Ngram Viewer” page.

* From the Oxford English Dictionary:

  • “The use of media with singular concord and as a singular form with a plural in -s have both been regarded by some as non-standard and objectionable. Compare: 1966 K. Amis in New Statesman 14 Jan. 51/3 The treatment of media as a singular noun … is spreading into the upper cultural strata.”

* Ted Nelson, inventor of the concept of hypertext (beginning in the 1960s)

* On the “prosthesis” theory of technology and Marshall McLuhan — Sarah Coffey,  “Prosthesis,” The Chicago School of Media Theory, no date.

* Wolfgang Schivelbusch. The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986. [German edition pub. 1977]

* Cubism

Lecture 3 (The Age of Orality)

* Past media ages studied by scholars like Walter Ong include:

  • Primary oral culture
  • Writing culture (“chirographic”), including:
    • Scroll and manuscript culture
    • Codex book culture
  • Print culture (“typographic”)

* Since McLuhan, the “history of the book” field has flourished as a kind of media theory. The field includes:

  • History of Writing (e.g., Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy, 1982)
  • History of Print (e.g., Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early Modern Europe, 1979)
  • History of Reading (e.g., Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading, 1996, and A Reader on Reading, 2011)

A current, new way of thinking about media that encompasses both past media and contemporary digital is “media archaeology” (as in the work of Friedrich Kittler)

* Walter Ong on orality

  • Note also his mention of “secondary orality” — ““The electronic age is also an age of ‘secondary orality’, the orality of telephones, radio, and television, which depends on writing and print for its existence” (Orality and Literacy, p. 2)

* Milman Parry’s work on Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, based on:

  • Internal evidence form the poems:
    • Dacytylic hexameter —
      Example of dactylic hexameter in English (from Tennyson’s Evangeline):
      “This is the | for-est pri | me-val. The | mur-muring | pines and the | hem–locks”
    • Homeric “Formulae” — e.g.,
      Achilles: swift-footed; godlike; shepherd of the people ; son of Peleus; leader of men
      Odysseus: son of Laertes; resourceful; nimble-witted; famous spearman; godlike; sacker of cities; much-enduring; gallant; stalwart; loved of Zeus; famed; hardy; royal; great glory of the Achaians
  • External evidence from recordings made by Milman Parry (or his student Albert Lord) of oral bards living in what was then Yugoslavia in the 1930s.

* Old English example of oral poetry: “Caedmon’s Hymn”

* Contemporary example of oral poetry with ancient oral-culture roots:

* Geoffrey Chaucer, Prologue to the Canterbury Talesparallel original and translated texts.

Lecture 4 (continued)

* The Phrase Finder (phrases, sayings, proverbs, and idioms). (Compare to what Walter Ong calls the “close to the lifeworld” sayings of oral culture)

* Compare what Walter Ong calls the “agonistically toned” nature of oral cultures to the Old English poem “The Battle of Maldon” (911 A.D.) about battle between the English and the Vikings (in a modern translation):

Byrhtnoth spoke back, raising up his shield,
waving his slender spear, speaking in words,
angry and resolute, giving them answer:

“Have you heard, sailor, what these people say?
They wish to give you spears as tribute,
the poisonous points and ancient swords,
this tackle of war that will do you no good in battle.
Herald of the brim-men, deliver this again,
say unto your people a more unpleasant report:
here stands with his troops a renowned earl
who wishes to defend this homeland,
the country of Æthelred, my own lord,
and his citizens and territory.

* Lake Nakuru, Kenya

* William Faulkner. “The Bear.” In Go Down, Moses, and Other Stories.  New York: Random House, 1942.

Lecture 5 (The Rise of Literacy)

* M. T. Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record, England 1066-1307, 2d ed. (Blackwell, 1993)

* Denise Schmandt-Besserat, “The Evolution of Writing” (a good, short introduction to the invention of writing, beginning with clay tokens for counting and their clay envelopes).

* “Render” — “late Middle English: from Old French rendre, from an alteration of Latin reddere ‘give back,’ from re- ‘back’ + dare ‘give.’ The earliest senses were ‘recite,’ ‘translate,’ and ‘give back’ (hence ‘represent’ and ‘perform’)…”

* Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)

* André Kertész (1894-1985)

* Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren, Understanding Poetry: An Anthology for College Students, 1st ed. (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1938)

Lecture 6 (Reading in the Information Age?)

* Paradigm of he Wasp/Orchid — Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1987).

* Paradigm of symbiogenesis (Euplotidum microorganism with ectosymionts related to Verrucomicrobia bacteria;  & Termite digestive system) — Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species (2002)

Examples of “Assemblage” Art

  • Robert Rauschenberg,
    • Monogram, 1955-59. Freestanding combine. (42 x 63 1/4 x 64 1/2 in.). Moderna Museet. © Robert Rauschenberg.
    • Canyon, 1955-59. Combine on canvas. (81 3/4 x 70 x 24 in.). Museum of Modern Art, New York. © Robert Rauschenberg.

* Online web page discussed in lecture: Danièle Cybulskie, “Five Books to Start Your Journey Back to the Middle Ages,” Medievalists.net, 27 November 2014.

* Rudolf Flesch, Why Johnny Can’t Read Why Johnny—And What You Can Do About It (1955)

* Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. 20th anniversary ed. New York, N.Y., U.S.A: Penguin Books, 2006.

* Birkerts, Sven. The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age. Pbk. ed. New York: Faber and Faber, 2006.

* Stallybrass, Peter. “Books and Scrolls: Navigating the Bible.” In Books and Readers in Early Modern England, 42–79. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002. https://doi.org/10.9783/9780812204711.42.

* Warner, William B. Licensing Entertainment: The Elevation of Novel Reading in Britain, 1684-1750. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

* Pry iPad novella — Tender Claws (Danny Cannizzaro and Samantha Gorman), Pry. Apple iOS app for iPad.  2014.

* Transliteracies Project: Research in the Technological, Social, and Cultural Practices of Online Reading. Principal Investigator, Alan Liu. University of California, 2005-2010. http://transliteracies.english.ucsb.edu/

* Alan Liu, “A New Metaphor for reading.” In New York Times Room for Debate forum on “Does the Brain Like E-Books?”, 14 October 2009.

* Leonardo da Vinci, Vitruvian Man (1490)

* Source for image showing a woman with technologies in place of da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man: Katie Warren, “Marshall McLuhan and the Extension of the Human Body.,” Ambient Environments (blog), no date.

* N. Katherine Hayles, Unthought: The Power of the Cognitive Unconscious (2017)

* Longo, Robert. Johnny Mnemonic. Action, Drama, Sci-Fi. TriStar Pictures, Alliance Communications Corporation, Cinévision, 1995.

* Randall, Adam. IBoy. Action, Crime, Sci-Fi. Wigwam Films, Pretty Pictures, Netflix, 2017.

* “Distant Reading” (use of computers to read in ways humans have never been able to before, including data-mining for patterns and trends)

  • Computers can be used in this way on single books (as in the case of Martin Paul Eve’s Close Reading with Computers: Textual Scholarship, Computational Formalism, and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas [2019], which uses computers to study patterns in a single novel).
  • Computers come into their own, however, when reading at scale–as in the case of thousands of novels (see, for example, Franco Moretti’s Graphs, Maps, Trees [2005]) or millions of documents (see Jean-Baptiste Michel, Erez Lieberman Aiden, et al., “Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books” [2011]).
    • From Franco Moretti’s Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History (2007):
      • Using computers to read at Scale“the study of national bibliographies made me realize what a minimal fraction  of the literary field we all work on: a canon of two hundred novels for instance, sounds very large for nineteenth-century Britain (and is much larger than the current one), but is still less than one per cent of the novels that were actually published: twenty thousand, thirty, more, no one really knows—and close reading won’t help here, a novel a day every day of the year would take a century or so.” (p. 3-4)
      • Using computers to read for System: “And it’s not even a matter of time, but of method: a field this large cannot be understood by stitching together separate bits of knowledge about individual cases, because it isn’t a sum of individual cases: it’s a collective system, that should be grasped as such, as a whole–and the graphs that follow are one way to begin doing this.” (p. 4)
      • Using computers to model patterns related to genres, cycles, generations: “‘Distant reading’, I have once called this type of approach; where distance is however not an obstacle, but a specific form of knowledge: fewer elements, hence a sharper sense of their overall interconnection. Shapes, relations, structures. Forms. Models.” (p. 1)

Lecture 7 (“Strange Books”)

* Taking stock of where we are:

  • In each age, there is a “new media encounter” in which old media meet new media forms. Typically, terms like the following are used to contrast the familiar media to the new ones:
    • inner vs. outer
    • deep vs. shallow
    • close vs. distant
    • linear vs. non-linear
    • focal vs. peripheral
  • Some new media forms cross over from being alien to becoming internalized as close, deep, etc.–i.e., “true” to essential knowledge and human identity.
  • An interesting second issue is what happens to old media then. How do older media (like orality once literacy arrived) reposition themselves in the evolving media ecosystem? How do they change in function or adapt in form?
  • Liu, Alan. “Imagining the New Media Encounter.” In A Companion to Digital Literary Studies, 3–25. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.  (full text)

* Can “strange books” of the digital age be deeply, closely, intensively [etc.] meaningful?

  • See the ELO (Electronic Literature Organization) and the evolution of forms of born-digital literature–e.g.,
    • Interactive fiction (IF)–e.g., will Crowther’s Adventure (1975)
    • Hypertext fiction–e.g., Michael Joyce’s Afternoon, A Story (1990), Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl (1995), and M. D. Coverley’s (Marjorie Luesebrink’s) Califia (2000).
  • See also video games such as Myst and Riven.

* The three “strange books” assigned for today — Agrippa: A Book of the Dead, “Snow,” and Pry —  are experiments in imagining the future of the book in the digital and networked age.

  • Each is very ambitious in imagining the goal for the future of the book. Each raises the bar for the value of the book to the highest standard of media in each age (and in the past specifically of the book): can it change you?
  • We can call this the “conversion” paradigm.
  • The logic of the conversion experience.,

* Exodus 3:14 (King James Bible):

  • “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”
  •  Tetragrammaton – “Yahweh” (Hebrew theonym ????, = transliterated into Latin letters as YHWH)

* Codex Sinaiticus, the earliest known manuscript of the Christian Bible, compiled in the 4th century A.D.

* Agrippa: A Book of the Dead

  • “Incunabula” = early printed books

* Pry novella for iPad, by Tender Claws (Samantha Gorman and Danny Cannizzaro), 2014.

* The “conversion” moment in William Gibson’s poem in Agrippa (A Book of the Dead):

  • There it was that I was marked out as a writer,
    having discovered in that alcove
    copies of certain magazines
    esoteric and precious, and, yes,
    I knew then, knew utterly,
    the deal done in my heart forever,
    though how I knew not,
    nor ever have.Walking home
    through all the streets unmoving
    so quiet I could hear the timers of the traffic lights a block away:
    the mechanism. Nobody else, just the silence
    spreading out to where the long trucks groaned
    on the highway their vast brute souls in want.

 * Text-only transcription of Shelley Jackson’s “Snow” story/poem through the present (available on course Canvas site). For students without an Instagram account, see the most recent posts from Jackson’s work in a screen capture on the course Canvas site.

* Some questions about media in the digital age:

  • What media do you use?
  • Which of these media have been most important to you in the way a book was for St. Augustine? (changed you)
    • Science fiction novel mentioned: Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age, or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer (1995)
  • Which media today have the most impact on societies?
    • Example: Walter Cronkite’s live news broadcast of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
  • How should literary writers adapt to today’s media age?

II. The Rise of Digital Media / Communication / Information

Lecture 8 (The Communications Revolution & the Digital Principle) [also continues in next lecture]

* Turing, Alan. “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem.” Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society s2-42, no. 1 (1937): 230–65. https://doi.org/10.1112/plms/s2-42.1.230.

* Wiener, Norbert. Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. 2. ed., Reprint. Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press, 2007 [originally pub. 1948].

* Albert Borgmann, Holding On to Reality: The Nature of Information at the Turn of the Millennium (1999):

  • “Information about reality exhibits its pristine form in a natural setting. An expanse of smooth gravel is a sign that you are close to a river. Cottonwoods    tell you where the river bank is. An assembly of twigs     in a tree points to ospreys. The presence of ospreys    shows that there are trout in the river. In the original economy of signs, one thing refers to another in a settled order of reference and presence. A gravel bar seen from a distance refers you to the river. It is a sign. When you have reached and begun to walk on the smooth and colored stones, the gravel has become present in its own right. It is a thing. And so with the trees, the nest, the raptors, and the fish.” (p. 1)
  • “The ancestral environment is the ground state of information and reality. Human beings evolved in it, and so did their ability to read its signs.” (p. 24)

* Karl Bodmer, Assiniboin Medicine Sign (1833):

Karl Bodmer, Assiniboin Medicine Sign (1833)

* Matthew Kielty, “Episode 114: Ten Thousand Years” (transcript of podcast), 2014.

  • “In 1990, the federal government invited a group of geologists, linguists, astrophysicists, architects, artists, and writers to the New Mexico desert, to visit the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. They would be there on assignment…. The problem that the aforementioned panel was convened to address was how to communicate this information [warnings aboiut dangers of radioactive waste at the site] to people 10,000 years in the future.”

*  Long Now Foundation

  • “a nonprofit established in 01996 to foster long-term thinking. Our work encourages imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years — a timespan we call the long now.”
  • Clock of the Long Now

* On “time-space compression”: Harvey, David. The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change. Oxford [England] ; Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell, 1989.

*  Greimas, A. J. Structural Semantics: An Attempt at a Method. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983.

* Critiques of the transmission model of communication: see Daniel Chandler, “The Transmission Model of Communication,” 1995)

Lecture 9 (The Computer Revolution (1): History of the Computer)

* Claude Shannon’s “Mathematical Theory of Communication” (and Warren Weaver’s explanation of it)

* Pre-20th-century computing:

  • Triggering problems: Generating mathematical tables and other tabular forms of knowledge — e.g., John Napier’s logarithm tables (1614), tide tables, ballistic solutions
  • Famous mechanical calculating machines:
    • Blaise Pascal’s calculating machine (“Pascaline”) (1642)
    • Leibniz’s calculating machine (1673)
    • Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine & Analytical Engine (1820s-30s)
  • External stored programming:
    • Jacquard Loom (1804) and its punch card instructions
    • Charles Babbage Analytical Engine with its punch cards
      • From Ada Lovelace’s (Lady Lovelace) notes after her work related to Babbage’s machine: “”The distinctive characteristic of the Analytical Engine, and that which has rendered it possible to endow mechanism with such extensive faculties as bid fair to make this engine the executive right-hand of abstract algebra, is the introduction into it of the principle which Jacquard devised for regulating, by means of punched cards, the most complicated patterns in the fabrication of brocaded stuffs. . . . We may say most aptly that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraical patterns just as the Jacquard-loom weaves flowers and leaves.”
    • Herman Hollerith Tabulating Machine (1889) with its punch cards
    • IBM punch card calculating machines and computers in the 20th century

* 20th-century electronic digital computing:

  • Triggering problems:
    • WW II ballistics (e.g., U.S. Navy Mark I fire control computer)
    • WW II cryptography (e.g., the German Enigma Machine  and the Turing “bombe” used to decode it)
    • Scientific computing
    • Business sorting and tabulating problems from the 1950s on
  • Solutions (engineering):
    • Grace Hopper, Howard Aiken and the Harvard Mark 1 computer (electromechanical digital computer)
    • J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, and the electronic digital ENIAC (1943-44)
    • Eckert-Mauchly Corporation (later Sperry-Rand) and the impact of computing on business and the media: the UNIVAC or “Universal Automatic Computer” (1951)
    • IBM 701 | IBM 704 Installation (1956) | IBM System/360 (c. 1969) (the latter with multi-level series of computers with shared programming)
  • Solutions (theoretical):
    • Claude Shannon, “The Mathematical Theory of Communication” (1948)
    • Alan Turing, “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem” (1936)
    • Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (1948)
    • John von Neumann, “First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC” (1945)
      (after chance conversation between von Neuman and Herman Goldstine while EDVAC computer was being developed)
  • Conceptual paradigm:
    • The digital principle:
      • The digital is mathematically general:
        • Herman Goldstine, The Computer from Pascal to von Neumann:
          “[The digital approach] is the realization that a machine can be built to imitate the human method of calculating: to count and to build up the elementary operations—addition, subtraction, multiplication, division—by counting. Not only can this be done but it may be shown that, in general, mathematical formulations may be handled by means of these elementary operations. . . . suffice it to say that for our purposes numerical mathematics can be built up out of the elementary processes of counting, and therefore that this approach has a very real sense of universality or general purposeness about it.”
      • The digital is logically general:
        • George Boole (1815-1864) & Boolean fusion of algebra and logic:
          “Let us conceive, then, of an Algebra in which the symbols x, y, z, &c. admit indifferently of the values 0 and 1, and of these values alone. The laws, the axioms, and the processes, of such an Algebra will be identical in their whole extent with the laws, the axioms, and the processes of an Algebra of Logic.”

          • Claude Shannon’s master’s thesis was on the relation between switching circuits and Boolean algebra. Binary logic was suited to the new, fast technology: switches, relays, vacuum tubes, transistors.
        • The “Turing Machine” — information about the Turning Machine as an abstract, general-purpose computer.
      • The Von Neumann computer architecture:
        • Fast sequential, linear calculations (counting & accumulating)
        • Separation of processing from memory
        • Stored program principle
    • Implementation paradigm:
      • Centrialized computing in MIS (Management Information Services) departments
        • e.g., IBM 7094 installation
    • Sociocultural paradigm — The Cold War:
      • e.g., Michael Caine as spy Harry Palmer in the 1967 Ken Russell film, Billion Dollar Brain (accessing a Honeywell computer similar to the host that UCLA connected to the ARPANet in 1969)
      • Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) (HAL computer, monoliths as “mainframes”)

Lecture 10 (The Computer Revolution (2): Rise of the Network)

* The Personal Computer and the Network vs. the mainframe:

  • Apple 1984 Superbowl advertisement announcing the Mac computer (video)
  • Steve Jobs 1984 demo to debut the Mac computer (he pulls it out of a bag) (video)
  • IBM 1981 “Little Tramp” (“Charlie Chaplin”) advertisement for the IBM Personal Computer (ad campaign by the Chiat-Day firm) (video)
  • Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web in 1989

* Early hacker culture (e.g., Steve Wozniak in garage working on the early Apple computers) and “computer lib” or cyberlibertarian culture (e.g., Ted Nelson)

* The Rise of the Personal Computer

  • Enabling technologies of the personal computer:
    • Semiconductor transistor
    • Integrated circuit and microprocessor
    • Graphical User Interface (GUI)
      • first demoed by Douglas C. Engelbart in the so-called “mother of all demos,” Stanford Research Institute, 1968
      • developed further at Xerox PARC labs
      • shown to Steve Jobs during his visit to Xerox PARC, leading the Apple’s Mac computer interface
  • Key events in history of the personal computer:
    • ? 1975-  Altair 8800 (first microprocessor computer); Bill Gates and Paul Allen develop a BASIC programming system for the machine; Microsoft forms in 1975; contracts with IBM in 1980 to create MS-DOS operating system
      ? 1976-77: Creation of the Homebrew Computer Club in Menlo Park, CA (near Palo Alto and Stanford U.); Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak attend the Club meetings, create the first crude “Apple” in a few weeks; Apple II in 1976-77? 1979: Jobs visits Xerox PARC in 1979 and sees the GUI interface; Apple’s Macintosh computer in 1984
      ? 1978-80: Creation of the early “killer apps” (applications) for the personal computer that would soon make it de rigeur in the business world: the spreadsheet (VisiCalc), word-processing (WordStar)
      ? 1981: IBM’s PC Personal Computer introduces personal computing to the workplace (by 1984, 35% of the business information technology market is captured by PCs; Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year,” 1982 )

* The Rise of the Internet

  • Enabling technologies of the Internet:
    •      Network concept and architecture
      • Paul Barans’s idea for distributed networks
      • The ARPAnet with Interface Message Processors (IMPs) linking different host computers to a shared network
        • UCSB is one of the first four nodes of the ARPAnet
      • Packet-switching concept
        • Data packets
        • TCP/IP protocol to break files into packets, transport them on the Internet, and reassemble them (Vint Cerf and Paul Kahn’s work on TCP/IP)
  • Key events in the history of the Internet:
    • ? Oct. 4, 1957: Sputnik
      ? 1958: U. S. ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency)
      ? 1970: Creation of the ARPAnet (one of the original four nodes is UCSB)
      ? 1974: Invention of TCP/IP protocol (Vint Cerf & Boh Khan)
      ? 1980s: Rapid expansion of LANs (Local Area Networks, usually Ethernet-based) and WANs (Wide Area Networks, TCP/IP-based)
      ? 1990s: Rapid expansion of the Internet (privatization of the Internet “backbone” by 1995):
      Telnet, FTP, Usenet, Gopher
      Hytelnet, Archie, WAIS, Veronica
      ? 1992: Invention of World Wide Web (Tim Berners-Lee)
      ? 1992: Lynx text-only browser
      ? 1993-94: Mosaic Web browser (at the NCSA: National Center for Supercomputing) and Netscape Web browsers
      ? 1994: Netscape Navigator browser

* Early humanities use of the Internet at UCSB

* Conceptual Paradigm of Personal Computing / The Internet

  • “Client” / “Server” architecture
    • Personal computers (“client” machines and no longer “dumb terminals”) networked to a microprocessor-based “server”
    • Processing work is distributed between client and server machines
  • Also: database-to-web variant of client/server architecture
    • Instead of authors writing Web pages directly to be sent from the server to client computers for users to see, authors input information into a database residing on the server. The database feeds information on request into template Web pages, and the resulting dynamically-generated Web pages are sent to client computers for users to see.

Lecture 11 (The Computer Revolution (3): The Emergence of Digital “New Media”)

* “New media” is media that has been influenced by the new communications and computing technologies.

  • Fields that study new media today include:
    • New Media Studies
    • Network & Platforms Critique
    • Internet & Social Justice Studies
  • Fields that make creative art from new media include:
    • Electronic Literature
    • Digital Art / Network Art
    • Game Studies

* Walter Ong on the original “new media” of writing technologies

  • One example of an innovation of writing: accounts and lists
  • Cf. Jack Goody, The Domestication of the Savage Mind (1977)

* Digital new media today includes its own version of accounts and lists: e.g., list structures in HTML

  • The difference of digital new media is that the numbers behind such lists are computable

* Lev Manovich’s Analysis of New Media Principles

  • “Numerical representation”
  • “Modularity”
  • “Automation”
  • “Variability”
  • “Transcoding”
    • Manovich, p. 46-47
    • cf. McLuhan on media as an “extension of man” and Ong on “psychodynamics” of orality or literacy

* Web 1.0 –> Web 1.5 –> Web 2.0

  • Web 1.0: authors directly write Web pages, which are sent from the server over the network to users
  • Web 1.5 authors input data into databases on the servers, which assemble the data in “template” Web pages to be sent over the network to users. Sometimes users are allowed also to write into the database (e.g., small comments or reviews of a product, or their addresses and payment information)
  • Web 2.0: the awakening of the Internet to the possibility of allowing multiple authors and users all to write into databases on the server to generate dynamic pages through templates–leading to the explosion of blogs, social media, etc.

* The Rise of Social Media

Lecture 12-15 (Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49)

* (Partial) Definition of Modern and Contemporary Literature

  • Literature uses language (and media, communication, and information) imaginatively to express general human experience.
  • In modernity, however, media, communication, and information themselves become increasingly important as part of general human experience.
  • Therefore, modern and contemporary literature molds its imagination of human concerns in ways that often deliberately make use of, or call attention to, new kinds of media, communication, and information.
    • Examples:
      • “Telegraph” novels of the late 19th century — e. g., Ella Cheever Thayer’s best seller novel, Wired Love: A Romance of Dots and Dashes (1880) (available from Amazon)
      • Avant-garde Modernist poetry and typography — e.g., Vladimir Mayakovsky (poet) and El Lissitsky (“book constructor” or designer), For the Voice (1923).
      • Modern “typewriter” concrete poetry — e. g., e. e. cummings, “I WILL BE”
      • James Joyce, Finnegan’s Wake (1939)
      • Examples from contemporary e-lit (electronic literature):
        • Shelley Jackson, Patchwork Girl (2005)
        • John Cayley, Overboard (2003-2004)
        • Electronic Literature Organization’s Electronic Literature Collections (vols. 1-3)
  • But modern and contemporary literature often also makes use of media, communication, and information in ways that go “against the grain” of such technologies–e.g., to question or challenge their conventional purpose of “making sense” or being “entertaining.” (Cf., Cleanth Brooks, “The Heresy of Paraphrase.”)
      • Examples (see some of the above)
      • See also example from net art: JODI Home Page (Joan Heemskerk & Dirk Paesmans)

* Information about Thomas Pynchon

  • Born 1937; grew up in suburbs of Long Island.
  • Contributor to his high-school newspaper, where he wrote a column under the pseudonyms “Roscoe Stein,” “Boscoe Stein,” and “Bosc“.
  • Went to Cornell in late 1950s; studied engineering physics and then English literature (took a class at Cornell from Nabokov); friend of writer and folksinger Richard Farina; graduated 1958. (Pynchon’s reminiscence of Richard Farina)
  • Served in the Navy for two years before graduating from Cornell; possibly as a signal corpsman.
  • After college, went to Greenwich Village for a year to write. Then spent two years beginning in 1960 in Seattle as a technical writer and engineering aide at Boeing.
  • Then he drops out of sight and remains out of public view.

* Pynchon’s Writings

  • muted posthorn V. (1963)
    muted posthorn The Crying of Lot 49 (1965)
    muted posthorn Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)
    muted posthorn Slow Learner (short stories, 1984)
    muted posthorn Vineland (1990)
    muted posthorn Mason & Dixon (1997)
    muted posthorn Against the Day (2006)
    muted posthorn Inherent Vice (2009)
    muted posthorn Bleeding Edge (2013)

* Passages from The Crying of Lot 49 quoted or discussed in lecture (cited by page number from the edition used for the course)

  • 1 (opening)
  • 2 (life in Kinneret-Among-the-Pines)
  • 2-3 (Pierce Inverarity’s phone call)
  • 5 (“Mucho” Maas and the used car lot)
  • 10 (“But aren’t you even curious? . . . As things developed, she was to have all manner of revelations.”)
  • 10-12 (Rapunzel’s Tower and Remedo Varos painting, Bordando el Manto Terrestre)
  • 14 (Oedipa’s entry into San Narciso)
  • 22 (“You want to bet on what’ll happen?”
  • 31 (“Things then did not delay in turning curious….”)
  • 68 (Maxwell’s Demon)
  • 71 (“It was to be the first of many demurs”)
  • 83 (Oedipa at Berkeley campus)
  • 84-86 (Nefastis machine)
  • 88 (“Either Trystero did exist, in its own right . . .”)
  • 88-107 (Oedipa’s nighttime odyssey through San Francisco and Oakland)
  • 101-105 (Oedipa and the old alcoholic sailor)
  • 104-105 (DT’s, dt’s, delirium, “high magic to low puns”)
  • 118 (“Mucho” Maas and the N.A.D.A. sign)
  • 115-17 (“Mucho” Maas and Muzak)
  • 140-41 (“Either way, they’ll call it paranoia….”)
  • 142 (“she thought she was pregnant”
  • 144 (“no test for what she was pregnant with”)
  • 148-149 (the “secular miracle of communication” and America)
  • 150 (“For it was now like walking among matrices of a great digital computer….”)
  • 150-51 (“For there either was some Tristero beyond the appearance of the legacy America, or there was just America….”)
  • 151-52 (the ending; the crying of lot 49)

* Films and TV Shows of the 1960s mentioned in lecture as comparisons for The Crying of Lot 49 and its world:

  • Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
  • Mike Nichols’s The Graduate (1967)
  • Father Knows Best (TV, 1954-1963)
  • The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (TV, 1952-1966)

* Remedio Varos, Bordando el Manto Terrestre (1961)

* A painting of Ovid’s Narcissus and Echo myth :

  • John William Waterhouse, Echo and Narcissus (1903)

* The idea of a MacGuffin in film history

* References made in lecture in relation to the 1960s contexts of counterculture and the War on Poverty and Civil Rights Movement:

  • Book cover design for The Crying of Lot 49 in the style of Peter Max
  • Michel Harrington, The Other America: Poverty in the United States (1962)
  • Dwight MacDonald, Our Invisible Poor” (1963  
  • Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty”
    • Social Security Act of 1965
    • Food Stamp Act of 1964
    • Economic Opportunity Act of 1964
    • Elementary and Secondary Education Act – April 11, 1965  

* Student protest riots at UCSB in 1970:

* Thomas Pynchon, “A Journey Into the Mind of Watts,” New York Times, June 12, 1966.

* Thomas Pynchon, “Entropy” ( (short story originally published 1960, included in his collection of stories, Slow Learner: Early Stories, 1984)

* Spray paint of the “muted post horn” around UCSB campus in 2007 (see Inside Higher ED news story, with quotes from Prof. Liu on the event).

(Midterm Exam)

[No lecture supplementary notes for this day]

III. The Postindustrial & Neoliberal Age

Lectures 16-19
(Postindustrial “Knowledge Work” / Neoliberal “Networked Society” / Against All the Above)

* Comparisons to

  • Previous manufacturing innovation:
    • John Hall’s standard-parts manufacturing of the breech-loaded musket — Rifle Works, Harper’s Ferry U.S. Armory, Virginia – 1820 and 1830s
    • Centrally controlled corporations — e.g., 19th-century railway companies.  See Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business (1977)
  • Later business innovation:
    • The mediatization of work. See JoAnne Yates, Control Through Communication: The Rise of System in American Management (1989)
    • Modern management theory — e.g., Peter Drucker’s invention of the field.

* Taylorisim & Scientific Management

  • Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856 – 1915)
    • 1872 – Entered Phillips Exeter Academy.
      1874 – Planned to attend Harvard until eyesight began to fail.
      1874 — Apprenticed as patternmaker and machinist at Hydraulic Works in Philadelphia.
    • 1878 – Joined Midvale Steel Works as: machine-shop laborer ? time clerk ?  journeyman machinist ? gang boss ? machine shop foreman ? research director ? chief engineer.
    • Books include: Shop Management (1903) and The Principles of Scientific Management (1911)
    • “Time-motion” studies
    • Principles of Scientific Management:
      • Extract tacit knowledge from the workers and make it explicit —
      • Optimize the sequence of task steps —
        • Eliminate redundancy and wasteful effort,
          Resequence task steps,
          Redistribute task steps among workers as necessary.
      • Document task-step sequence on paper & use the paperwork to instruct workers –
        • Create “instruction cards”
          Coordinate instructions in “planning department”
      • Create a distributed management system —
        • Eliminate the “gang-boss” system,
          Substitute a management that bosses workers impersonally (by task-step rather than by person, and by paperwork)

* Fordism

  • Henry Ford:
    • 1908 – Model T
      1913 — Assembly line
      1914 — Mechanized moving assembly belt
      1914 — Five-dollar day, eight-hour shift, and five-day
      work week
      1913 – Ford Sociological Department

* “Smart” Work (Knowledge Work)

  1. Business = Life
  2. Business = Change
    • The “Maintainer” and “Repair” Movements
      • The Maintainers, “Hail the Maintainers” (2016)
      • Steven J. Jackson, “Rethinking Repair,” in Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality and Society (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2014), 221–40
  3. Business = Knowledge
    • Rise of Knowledge Work in 20th Century:
      • “Dumbing down” of industrial work was accompanied by rise of “smart” class of professional managers and clerical workers.
      • The “smart” class grew as the original American middle class (farmers, craftsmen, small business owners) was replaced by a “new middle class” (salaried managers and clerical workers).
      • “Service” work grew in importance relative to manufacturing.
      • The “New Class” (“professional-technical-managerial”) arose.
      • Management tasks are also now increasingly pushed down the ranks to line workers themselves (e.g., “teams”).
    • Case Study: Business in the 1950s:
      • C. Wright Mills, White Collar: The American Middle Classes (1951)
      • William H. Whyte, Jr., The Organization Man (1956)
  4. Knowledge Work = IT Work
    • The “Productivity Paradox”
      • Thomas K. Landauer, The Trouble with Computers: Usefulness, Usability, and Productivity (1995)
      • Stephen S. Roach, Technology Imperatives (1992)
      • Paul A. Strassman, Information Payoff: The Transformation of Work in the Electronic Age (Macmillan, 1985)
      • New York Times“Why Is Productivity So Weak? Three Theories” (28 April 2016)
    • Large Technical Systems (LTS) theory: Thomas P. Hughes, Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880-1930 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983)
  5. Knowledge Work + IT Work = “Downsizing”
  6. Knowledge Work + IT Work = “Reengineering,” “Restructuring,” “Team work”
    • Reengineering:
      •     “kan-ban” (Toyota card-sign resupply system)
        “lean production”
        “flexible production”
        “just-in-time manufacturing”
        “total-quality control” (Edwards Deming, Six Sigma)
    • Restructuring:
      • Analogy of World War II Battle of Britain RAF “Vic” formations versus German Luftwaffe “Fingers four” formation
      • Chiat/Day advertising firm’s offices, NYC
    • Teamwork:
      • Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline (1990) p. 4, 10
      • William H. Davidow & Michael S. Malone, The Virtual Corporation (1992), p. 198-99
      • Joseph H. Boyett & Henry P. Conn, Workplace 2000 (1992), p. 255
  • Additional references:
    • General Economic or Cultural Theory of Postindustrialism:
      • Daniel Bell, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting (New York: Basic, 1973)
      • Alain Touraine, The Post-Industrial Society, trans. L. F. X. Mayhew (New York: Random House, 1971)
      • Alvin Toffler, The Third Wave (New York: Bantam, 1981)
      • Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Durham: Duke Univ. Press, 1991)
      • Robert B. Reich (Secretary of Labor under President Clinton), The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for 21st-Century Capitalism (New York: Random House, 1992)
      • Manuel Castells, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, 3 vols. (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 1996-97)
    • Business Literature of the “Gurus”
      • Beginning with Thomas (Tom) J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr., In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies (1982)
      • Includes popular business “fable” books like Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese: An A-mazing Way to Deal With Change in Your Work and In Your Life (1998)
      • For a survey of business literature, see John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, The Witch Doctors: Making Sense of the Management Gurus (1996)
    • Business and Personal Life
      • Juliet B. Schor, The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure (1992)
      • Arlie Russell Hochschild, The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work (1997)
      • Witold Rybczynski, Waiting for the Weekend (1991)
    • Business as Dominant Social Institution
      • Peter Drucker, Post-Capitalist Society (1993)
      • Armand Mattelart, Mapping World Communications (1991)
    • Business as Culture
      • Peters and Robert H. Waterman, In Search of Excellence (1982)
    • Business as Change (“Creative Destruction”)
      • Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1975; orig. pub. 1942)
      • Business Week, Special Double Issue on “The 21st Century Corporation” (21-28 Aug. 2000) — Concluding Editorial on “The 21st Century Corporation”
    • Business and Globalism
      • Joseph H. Boyett & Henry P. Conn, Workplace 2000 (1992)
      • Robert B. Reich, The Work of Nations (1991)

* Neoliberalism (and the “Networked Society”)

  • Wendy Brown interviewed by Timothy Shenck, “What Exactly is Neoliberalism?” (2015)
  • Manuel Castells, “Materials for an Exploratory Theory of the Network Society” (2000), p. 16, 10-11
  • Comparison to utopian “arcologies” in which work and life are blended architecturally:

* “Against All the Above”

  • Cyber NGOs
    • The NGO (non-governmental organization) concept:
      • NGOs are international, regional, or community social-cause groups that are not affiliated with a governments or business.
      • They work on such issues as human rights, refugee rights, environmentalism, world health, world hunger, etc.
      • Their politics range from non-partisan to left or right.
      • Their goal is “wealth” in the original sense of the word: “weal,” “commonwealth,” or “well-being” (e.g., world peace, health, social justice).
      • Their organizational model is often bottom-up, grass-roots, and community-centered, with a supervening layer of centralized organization.
    • Cyber NGOs and the “wiring” of other NGOs:
      • Beginning in the 1980s, some NGOs (cyber NGOs) made access to information & information technology their core agenda.
      • They assisted other NGOs in using information technology for social-justice goals.
      • They fought government regulation of the Internet.
      • Their members were often “computer professionals” working for corporations or universities but pursuing social-justice causes on the side.
    • Representative Examples of Cyber NGOs
    • Politics of the Cyber NGOs
      • Anti-government & anti-corporate
      • Specific agenda issues:
        • Freedom of information (freedom to access, publish, and withhold information) to facilitate social activism.
        • Labor actions in Silicon Valley and Seattle—e.g., the South Bay AFL-CIO Central Labor Council, the janitorial strikes of the 1990s in Silicon Valley, the WashTech (South Bay AFL-CIO Central Labor Council) actions for Microsoft “permatemp” workers.
        • “Green” information technology (e.g., Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition)
        • Workplace privacy (e.g., ACLU National Task Force on Civil Liberties in the Workplace)
      • But, the Cyber NGOs assimilate some of the “management” philosophy of postindustrial corporations—e.g., the APC’s “Managing Your NGO” resources.
  • Cyberlibertarianism
    • Famous cyberlibertarian spokespeople (“digerati”)
      • Stewart Brand (founder of The Whole Earth Catalog (1968-72) and The Well BBS (1985-); originator of the statement “information wants to be free“)
        Kevin Kelley (Wired Magazine editor)
        John Perry Barlow (former lyricist for the Grateful Dead; co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation) (“A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,” “The Economy of Ideas”)
        Jon Katz (journalist covering the cyber-beat for Wired, New York Times, Rolling Stone, etc.) (“Birth of a Digital Nation”)
        George Gilder (“futurist” associated with the new right, the Progress & Freedom Foundation, the Discovery Institute)
    • Representative cyberlibertarian organizations
      • Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
        Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT)
        Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) (see esp. “Cyberspace and the American Dream: A Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age”)
        Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR), especially its “Cyber-Rights” and “Privacy and Civil Liberties” working groups
        Radical and anarchist fringe: e.g., the Mondo 2000 crowd.(See Mark Dery’s book on the cyber-fringe, Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century, 1996)
    • The Politics of Cyberlibertarianism
      • Cyberlibertarians made freedom of information and of the Internet (information wants to be free”) their main cause.
      • Like the NGO’s, cyberlibertarians were against government censorship and regulation of the Internet– especially in the wake of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996.
        • The “Blue Ribbon” and “Blacked Out Page” cyberlibertarian  campaigns of 1996)
        • John Perry Barlow, “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” (1996)
      • But, unlike the NGO’s, cyberlibertarians focused on freedom of information for the individual rather than for social groups.
        • Issues of online censorship, privacy, intellectual property, etc., were political ends in themselves (and only secondarily the means of social justice).
        • Cyberlibertarians thus tended to believe that the social protocols/communities of the Internet could create a new kind of politics of the individual making obsolete both traditional institutions of power and traditional protest groups.
        • The individual on the “frontier” paradigm (the “electronic frontier,” “Jeffersonian principles,” etc.)
      • Partly because of the cyberlibertarian focus in “possessive individualism,” it had a complicated relation with business. (It was anti-government, but not necessarily anti-business.)
        • Cyberlibertarian “individualism” ? “entrepreneurs.”
        • Cyberlibertarianism is “dialectical” (thesis/antithesis) in its stance toward neoliberalism.
  • Free Software Movement / Open Software Movement
    • The cyberlibertarian schism between being anti-authority and pro-business was mirrored in the schism between the Free Software Movement and the Open Source movement.
    • Open Source evolved into a kind of parallel corporate and regulated space:
      • Developed by professionals and students often working “on the side” of their day-job institutions.
      • Trending toward the creation of parallel governmental and regulatory structures (e.g., as in Wikipedia)
  • Hacktivism
    • Escalating scale of hacktivism:
      • Glitch & Deformance art (e.g., Jodi)
      • “Tactical Media”
        • Early example: Pirate radio ship “Radio Caroline,” 1964-
        • Recent example: the “Yes Men” group
      • Hacktivism — examples:
        • Zapatista Tactical FloodNet (1997) (Electronic Disturbance Theater)
        • Anonymous (2003- )
        • LulzSec (2011)
        • Chaos Computer Club

Lecture 20-23 (William Gibson, Neuromancer)

* “World”-making and immersive fiction

  • Ryan, Marie-Laure. Narrative as Virtual Reality: Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2001.

* Quotation about the relation of cyberpunk science fiction to the postindustrial world

  • Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991): “This is the place to regret the absence from this book of a chapter on cyberpunk, henceforth, for many of us, the supreme literary expression if not of postmodernism, then of late capitalism itself.” (n. 1)

* The Rise of Science Fiction

  • Pre-SF – Edgar Allen Poe, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells
  • “Golden Age SF” 1 (1926-37) – Hugo Gernsback, ed., Amazing Stories
  • “Golden Age SF” 2 (1937-50s) – John W. Campbell, ed., Astounding Science Fiction, the paperback revolution, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C., Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, A. E. van Gogt, etc.
  • “New Wave SF” (1960s-70s) – Michael Moorcock, ed. New Worlds, later Robert Heinlein, J. G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, Robert Silverberg, Norman Spinrad, James Tiptree, Jr., Roger Zelazny, etc.
  • “Cyberpunk SF” (1980s) – William Gibson, John Shirley, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, “Mirrorshades” group, etc.

* Cyberpunk Science Fiction

  • Cyberpunk = romance of media, communication, information
  • Cyberpunk = romance of postindustrialism.
    • Literary equivalent of business books like Workplace 2000 or The Virtual Corporation that prophesied the “near future” after the 1980s when U. S. encountered global competition, the new Japanese business model, knowledge work, and information technology.
  • Cyberpunk = dystopian romance of IT and postindustrialism.
    • Cyberpunk = dystopian romance of IT and postindustrialism.
    • Critique of knowledge work from below: Cyber“punk”
      • cf. Velvet Underground’s debut album, Velvet Underground & Nico, 1967
        • Interview with William Gibson in 1986 in which he observes: ” I’ve been influenced by Lou Reed, for instance, as much as I’ve been by any “fiction” writer. I was going to use a quote from an old Velvet Underground song — “Watch out for worlds behind you” (from “Sunday Morning”) — as an epigraph for Neuromancer.”
        • Velvet Underground songs
      • cf. Sex Pistols punk rock group, 1977
  • Cyberpunk = “bent” knowledge work and information technology
  • Cyberpunk = “street” view of postindustrialism and neoliberalism
    • William Gibson, Burning Chrome (1986), p. 215: “Clinically they use the stuff to counter senile amnesia, but the street finds its own uses for things.”

* William Gibson’s Fiction

  • Sprawl Trilogy
    • Neuromancer (1984) — Winner of  Nebula, Hugo, & Philip K. Dick Awards
    • Count Zero (1986)
    • Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988)
  • Burning Chrome (1986) — short stories
  • The Difference Engine (1990; with Bruce Sterling)
  • Bridge Trilogy
    • Virtual Light (1993)
    • Idoru (1996)
    • All Tomorrow’s Parties (1999)
  • Blue Ant Trilogy (Hubertus Bigend)
    • Pattern Recognition (2003)
    • Spook Country (2007)
    • Zero History (2010)
  • The Peripheral (2014)
  • Agency (2020)
  • Archangel Comic Book series (with artist Bruce Guice), 2016-

* William Gibson’s Neuromancer

  • I. Background — The World of Neuromancer (contexts, setting)
    • Philosophy of Neuromancer descends from:

      • The Cartesian mind/body (or matter) split — René Descartes, Discourse on Method (1637): “Cogito ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”)
    • Style of Neuromancer descends from:
      • 19th-century Realist (or Naturalist) fiction — e.g., Honoré de Balzac, “Sarrasine” (1830)
      • plus 20th-century “Genre” Fiction & Film  — e.g., Westerns, detective/noir films, gangster films
      • plus late 20th-Century Dystopian & Post-Apocalyptic” Fiction & Film  — e.g., Blade Runner (1982), Mad Max / Road Warrior films (1979 -), The Matrix film series, 1999-2003
    • 20th-century “realism” might be defined as the collapsing of the mind-body (matter) Cartesian split in such a way that the “mind” layer is sunk almost entirely into the look-and-feel of material layer of the environment (as in “Spaghetti western” films like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) or the Road Warrior films in which the arid landscape is as expressive as any of the characters).
    • What might be called “information-age realism” then embeds the mental layer even further into the material layer–as in integrated circuits and software embedded invisibly in the “Internet of things” (i.e., in the infrastructure of human existence).
    • Neuromancer‘s hero, Case, lives in an unstable back-and-forth zone between “mind” and “body” in the gritty, yet information-rich realism of the novel’s setting:
    • Dimensions of the “World” of Neuromancer:
      • A World of Media and Information —
        • old media (e.g., p. 1, 48, 183)
        • remixed media (e.g., p. 104, 208)
          • On William Gibson’s thrift-shop reseller and “hoarder” sensibility (his predilection for assembing piles of old objects in his novels descended from his days as a thrift store “picker”): see his essay in Wired magazine, “My Obsession” (1999).
        • new media (“simstim” and “cyberspace” [“the matrix”])
          Graph of new media concepts in William Gibson's Neuromancer
          Graph of new media concepts in William Gibson’s Neuromancer
      • A World of Postindustrial Corporations —
        • Where business = life (e.g., p. 5, 145) (“zaibatsus”: p. 37, 203)
          • Compare Neal Stephenson’s “phyles” and “claves” in The Diamond Age (1995)
        • Where business = creative destruction (e.g., p. 29)
        • Where business = globalism
          • E.g., Hybrid Japanese / American (“Sprawl”) / European scene of the novel
          • Fusion culture (e.g., p. 9, 19)
          • Freeside as epitome of globalism (a free port like Hong Kong, except extraterrestrial)
        • Where business = knowledge work and information technology
          • Compare the chips embedded in the head of Molly’s ex (p. 176), alluding to a narrative told in Gibson’s short story “Johnny Mnemonic” (1995).
        • Where business = teamwork (e.g., the team that Armitage puts together for Wintermute)
      • But also a World of “The Street”
        • Counterculture: Beat/hippie drug culture (e.g., p. 154) updated to silicon as the ultimate drug (e.g., Case’s addictive need for cyberspace, p. 4-5)
        • Subculture
          • Larry McCaffery, “An Interview with William Gibson” (1986): “Gibson:  . . . A lot of the language in Neuromancer and Count Zero that people think is so futuristic is probably just 1969 Toronto dope dealers’ slang, or biker talk.”
          • Examples of subcultures in Neuromancer: youth gangs (e.g., Panther Moderns), reggae culture, criminal culture)
  • II. The Story of Neuromancer — Plot, Characters, “Moral,” and Narrative Method
    • Plot
      • Plot summary:
        A family-controlled corporation (Tessier-Ashpool, S.A.) . . .
        owns an artificial intelligence AI (Wintermute) that . . .
        assembles an outlaw team (Armitage, Molly, Case, the Finn, Dixie Flatline, Riviera) . . .
        to hack into its own corporate headquarters (Straylight Villa, Freeside) . . .
        to remove the hardwired limitations that prevent it from merging with the other corporate AI (Neuromancer) . . .
        in order to form an entity that is smarter and bigger than the Turing laws permit.

        • “Turing laws” in the novel alludes to Alan Turing’s “Turing Test” (also referred to as “Turing game”), a conceptual test for artificial intelligence
      • Seen one way, Neuromancer is a story of the “the singularity,“ “posthuman,” “transhuman” — as in the transcendence of the Artificial Intelligences (AIs) at the end (p. 269-70)
        • “What is Transhumanism?” (site on transhumanism)
        • Cf., Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (2005)
        • Compare the futurist ideas of “Computronium” (info), “Jupiter brain” (info), “Dyson spere” (info), and “Matrioshka brain” (info)
        • Cf., Science fiction about the “signularity” and/or transhumanism:
          • Charles Stross, Singularity Sky (Ace, 2003), Accelerando (Ace, 2005)
          • Cf., Bruce Sterling, Crystal Express (Ace, 1990) and its “Shaper/Mechanist” world
          • “The Terminator” film series beginning in 1984 (info)
          • Iain M. Banks’s “The Culture” novel series (info)
    • Characters
      • The characters of Neuromancer are built up from “types” desdended from genre fiction & film: Westerns, Gangster / Detective films, Martial arts films (e.g., p. 5, 33, 213. Peter Riviera’s holos (p. 208-209) are caricatures of Armitage and Molly as stereotypes, for example.
      • In a similar way, Wintermute uses characters as “templates” to express itself to humans–e.g., its templates of the Finn, Lonny Zone, and Linda Lee. (Cf., current use of “templates” in blogging and other content management systems like WordPress)
      • Wintermute’s Linda Lee template, however, is unstable (e.g., p. 155, 185, 117, 119) because there is too much emotional charge and back-story, epitomized in the virtual world on p. 233-244 containing a construct of the Moroccan beach with Linda Lee and Case.
      • The novel’s hero & heroine are types or templates, but also more:
        • Case’s character deepens with his back-story with Linda Lee
        • Similarly, Molly has her back-story with her “Johnny” (p. 176-78)
    • “Moral” of the Novel
      • Comparison to the moral code of the Hollywood Hays Code of 1934. See full text of the code.
      • The novel is about how to be human in the postindustrial age….
        • Characters in the novel who aren’t fully human:
          • “sarariman” (e.g., p. 10) (see “The Salaryman” by Jared Taylor)
          • Corto (“Armitage”)
          • Tessier-Ashpool clones
            • Case’s memory of the wasp nest as allegory for the Tessier-Ashpool clan/clone corporation, p. 126.
        • How to be human in the postindustrial age?
          • Choice — Being human means making a choice (for the theme of “choice,” see for example p. 51, 79, 167, 192, 244). Characters deficient of humanity in the novel either make no choices in the face of they system in which they live or overcompensate by flaunting gratuitous, trivial choice.
          • Commitment — Choice is not unlimited freedom but commitment.
        • Case’s great issue of choice/commitment in the novel — Either:
          • the Way of pure virtuality (the singularity, the transhuman)
            • E.g., his views about “the meat” and craving for release in cyberspace
          • Or: the way of the body
        • Case’s journey of self-discovery in the novel from the dream of pure virtuality to a choice/commitment to fuse the virtual and the meat, the mind and the body:
          • p. 152 — his discovery of “anger” at the simple comfort of the “meat” being taken away
          • p. 239-40 — the “transmission of the old message” through meat in the Moroccan beach construct with Linda Lee
          • p. 262-63 — “grace of the mind-body interface” at the climactic moment of the Kuang virus hack
      • Speculation: Does the novel extrapolate a future redemption of the postindustrial corporation?
        • The novel’s visions of the corporate form
          • The multinational corporation (e.g., p. 203)
          • Marie Tessier’s unfulfilled vision of the future corporation (p. 217, 229)
          • The Tessier-Ashpool corporation as it turned inward (p. 203, 173)
        • A hypothesis:
        • For the “dance” motif in the novel, see p. 16, 116, 249, 262
    • Narrative Method
      • The novel is characterized by rapid cuts between characters and scenes effected through simtim and cyberspace transitions — e.g., p. 244, 56.
      • Such cuts naturalize (make realistic through the use of information technology in the plot) conventions of modern narrative method, including:
        • Ensemble casts
        • “Montage” cuts in films
      • Compare the way computer technology allowed workers to “see” everything happening in a corporation, as in the vocabulary of “vision” in the interviews with workers in Shoshana Zuboff’s In the Age of the Smart Machine (1988), e.g., p. 9, 163, 169, 202.
      • Compare the way a spreadsheet allows workers to see the relation between different cells, and to cut/concatenate content between cells through automatic formulae.
      • Compare also the way corporate “project management” programs with their Gannt charts shows all tasks and workers in one view (e.g., Microsoft Project Manager)
      • But compare also the way late 20th-century “electronic literature” and “hypertext fiction” used similar kinds of information technology (e.g., Apple’s Hypercard, Eastgate’s Storyspace) to create similar narratives that cut between different characters, episodes, etc.

* Marjorie Luesebrink 

  • From her “TinTownsSummary” (2016):
    “What I realized was that the interface was always critical aspect of the architecture/meaning of the work. In fact, within the genre of digital literature itself, I had come to think of the software interface as a defining part of the story-making effort – much the way that sculptors might approach a work of wood differently from one of marble.  Aside from the initial content that spurred the beginning of a piece – the software and platform elements seemed to be in continual interaction with the content of my writing.  This interaction not only shaped the structure of the work, but impacted the style and tone, the discovery and trajectory – in fact, the content itself sometimes emerges largely through the interface that the software allows.  Indeed, some works involve an actual surrender to the software.”
  • Luesebrink’s earlier narrative interfaces, including: ToolBook, Director
  • Luesebrink’s Califia (2000) — summary and description of narrative method
  • From her ), “TinTownsSummary” (2016):
    “As with my other large projects, Tin Towns comes out of a desire to use software-designed structures to re-arrange, layer, and compress time and space – to look at time as a kind of space and vice versa.  Tin Towns is most definitely a work that is shaped by the fact that it is a spreadsheet.  But perhaps more importantly, it deals with material strangely suited to a format that seems to allow a speculative fiction narrative on a large-scale basis.  The configuration of the software constrains the work and gives it a metaphorical referent. With Tin Towns, I wanted to explore the possibility of playing with very long time frames and conceptual relationships – while still including significant detail.  The basic premise of Tin Towns is a question – what role might the shortage of resources play in major historical upheavals”
  • Luesebrink’s experiments with spreadsheet fiction:
    • Tin Towns (in-progress) — overview
    • Good Fortune Land (in-progress) — overview

* Closing Speculation for This Unit of the Course

  • Contemporary Narrative Method = Corporate Management?
  • Spreadsheet as imaginative form of the postindustrial information age?

IV. Processing Literature

Lecture 24 (What is Text in the Digital Age? )

* Alan Liu’s DH Toychest site

* Main topics of lecture:

  • Prophecy: What Humanities Scholarship Will Look Like in 2030
  • Digital Humanities: Map of the Field and Overview
  • The Historical Evolution of Text:
  • The Logic of Text Encoding
    • Relation of “semantic” model of text to the “material,” “structural,” and “data” models (see Yin Liu’s table)
    • The way computers have to grab onto the structural and data models to deal adequately with the semantic
    • Examples of text encoding:
      • Structural level: TEI  of a poem like William Blake’s “The Sick Rose”
      • Data level: Folger Library’s TEI/XML encoding of Shakespeare’s Macbeth
    • Evolution of modern text encoding
    • Documents and “Document Object Models” (DOM)
    • But new models are possible . . .

Lecture 25 (Text Analysis)

* Comparison of Bottom-up Machine Learning Approaches of Text Analysis to Text Encoding

* Text Analysis Tools (tools mentioned in lecture that can be used by students)

* Demos in Lecture of Tools

* What is it possible to learn from text analysis?

Lecture 26 (Topic Modeling)

* Overview of Topic Modeling

  • “Bag of Words” concept
  • Elementary explanation of the logic of topic modeling

* Topic Modeling Tools (tools mentioned in lecture that can be used by students)

  • In-Browser Topic Modeling Tool (in-browser demo of MALLET limited to fixed sample texts; use online)
  • Topic Modeling Tool (Java-based graphical-user-interface implementation of MALLET; used locally on texts of your choice; limited in user control of options and output; but produces a nice Web-page interface for dynamically exploring the topic models it makes)
  • Mallet (the main tool for topic modeling; a command-line tool that requires Java)
    • Programming Historian tutorial for installing and starting with MALLET

* Example Topic Models

* Other Introductory Explanations of Topic Modeling

* “So What?” — What We Learn From Topic Modeling

  • Answer at level of interpreting texts and corpora of texts
  • Answer at meta-interpretive level: the entry into the humanities of a probabilistic and statistical world-view that earlier challenged modern scientists.
  • Topic modeling and other text-analysis methods bring into view large sociocultural discursive phenomena (beyond usual frames of interpretation such as “the work,” “the author,” or even “movements” and “genres”)
    • Comparison to the notion of “hyperobjects” in Timothy Morton, Hyperobjects (2013)

Lecture 27 (Conclusion to Course)

The Noise of Literature:

* Works Mentioned

  • History works
    • Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (Wikipedia article about the center)
    • Lynn Hunt, ed., The New Cultural History: Essays, Studies on the History of Society and Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989).
    • Frederick Krantz, ed., History from below: Studies in Popular Protest and Popular Ideology (Oxford, UK ; New York, NY, USA: B. Blackwell, 1988).
    • George Rudè, The Crowd in the French Revolution (London Oxford New York: Oxford University Press, 1959).
    • E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class, Vintage ed, Vintage Books History 322 (New York: Vintage Books, 1966).
  • Literary theory works
    • Michail Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays, ed. Michael Holquist, trans. Caryl Emerson and Michail Bachtin, 18. paperback printing, University of Texas Press Slavic Series 1 (Austin, Tex: Univ. of Texas Press, 2011).
    • Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass, Reprint (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2002).
    • William R. Paulson, The Noise of Culture: Literary Texts in a World of Information (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988).
  • Literary works
    • Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves, 2nd ed (New York: Pantheon Books, 2000).
    • William Faulkner, Go down, Moses, 1st Vintage international ed, Vintage International (New York: Vintage Books, 1990).
    • Steven Hall, The Raw Shark Texts, 2008.
    • James Joyce, Ulysses, 1st Vintage International ed, Vintage International (New York: Vintage Books, 1990; originally published 1922).
    • Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow, Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2006; originally published 1973).
    • David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, 1st ed (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1996).
  • Other works

* Deformance Tools

  • See Alan Liu’s DH Toychest: “Deformance Tools” — including:
    • The Eater of Meaning (“tool for extracting the message from the medium. Format and presentation are unaffected, but words and letters are subjected to an elaborate nonsensification progress that eliminates semantics root and branch”)
    • GIFMelter (creates dynamic, flowing distortions of online images)
    • Glitch Images (interactive interface with sliders to “glitch” imported .jpg images)
    • Ivanhoe Game — WordPress Theme version | more info about this version (requires WordPress site installed on a local or institutional server) (“This tool is a vibrant reimagining of a game originally developed in the U. Virginia SpecLab. . . . The Ivanhoe Game can be played on any type of cultural object or topic.  In Ivanhoe, players assume roles and generate criticism by pretending to be characters or voices relevant to their topic and making moves from those perspectives”)
    • N + 7 Machine (English version only; “The N+7 procedure, invented by Jean Lescure of Oulipo, involves replacing each noun in a text with the seventh one following it in a dictionary”)
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