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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: November ::
Re: Electronic Research and Texts
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 829.  Monday, 22 November 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Timothy Bowden <
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        Date:   Saturday, 20 Nov 93 13:57:20 PST
        Subj:   Luddites and the Laity
 
(2)     From:   Chris Kendall <
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        Date:   Sunday, 21 Nov 1993 10:38:18 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   Electrotexts
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Timothy Bowden <
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Date:           Saturday, 20 Nov 93 13:57:20 PST
Subject:        Luddites and the Laity
 
I hope this doesn't range too far afield, but I am very interested in how the
Luddite Legacy plays along the modern data highway.  As you may recall, I
recently exulted in how research is so slick and quick in the electronic age -
I see, for instance, a speculation about incest charged by Hamlet I against
Gertrude, and I click on the term in my finder program after installing the
wafer containing not only the search tool but the complete works, the
equivalent of that ten-pound volume over in the dusty corner...
 
...and I see in seconds how the, ah, practice appears in _Pericles_ (the
perfect courtship rite for the over-protective father - a riddle is posed and
the suitor is killed whether he answers the question correctly or no!  I wonder
how many of the predecessors of Pericles were true in their reading of the
poser and were thus dispatched to protect the shame of Antioch) and in concept,
as Isabella musing in Act III Scene I of _Measure For Measure_:
 
                 Is't not a kind of incest, to take life
                     From thine own sister's shame?
 
Now, I see resistance to instant access to research tools for the masses in two
forms:
 
(1) Time invested in doing it the hard way.  Why, when I was a girl, I trudged
    eight miles in the snow and the reference library was closed and it was six
    miles further to Professor Winthrop's rooms, uphill both ways!  That was
    research, lad!
 
(2)  Loss of (tenured) positions amidst those already-mentioned musty shelves.
 
 
The question I have seen here, how has electronic research enhanced
scholarship? - might be turned on its head:  what is the academic function
(reminiscent of Van Gogh's insistence in stalking off the path and through the
briars because `One must suffer for art!') of trudging uphill through the snow?
Your time might better be spent in either writing or contemplation, I suspect.
 
Timothy Bowden

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Kendall <
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Date:           Sunday, 21 Nov 1993 10:38:18 -0700 (MST)
Subject:        Electrotexts
 
A popular view (particularly among people for whom hi-tech provides a
livelihood) is that technology is value-neutral.  I'm willing to accept
that, but I say that if owning a digital copy of Shakespeare relieves you
of the burden of reading his plays, sail that disc out the window.
 
--
Chris Kendall                 | 
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