Making words, marking words

I am giving a class in which – contrarily to the classes I have given so far – I am the one doing most of the talking. The topic is vast: “Writers and their publishers”,  and I have 13 sessions of 90 minutes to go through it. It is separated in three periods: turn of the 18th to the 19th, 19th, and 20th/21st century. I am having some trouble finishing the chapter on the time around 1800 for several reasons. First, it is the period I know best. Then I want to pin all the important knots that we will roll out in the following sessions. And finally, it is always difficult to give an overview of historical phenomena without examples, and not to get lost into your examples.

Books have piled up on my desk at home, I am transporting them to my office, at least 4 every day, and then back home at the end of my work day, where they pile up again with the other ones. And there are books that I have to consult in the library: all those that deal with the history of books are reading room-only. Continue reading “Making words, marking words”

Two h words and one e word (#dhiha6)

I have spent what feels like the last year and a half trying to make the hermeneutical added value of digital methods audible to Literary Studies scholars in my field – and I have failed. These discussions always reach a point of no-return when I am  being asked to give an example, offer one such example, and the example is then considered a specific case which does not tell much about the hermeneutical value of the whole. I have had this conversation over and over again and I keep wondering: Why is it that digital methods are being granted the ability to realize experiments, at the very best to develop more or less useful heuristics, but never, ever, to deliver in themselves an hermeneutical contribution? Continue reading “Two h words and one e word (#dhiha6)”

What is a scientific community about anyway?

After travelling a lot and finally settling back home again, getting ready to begin my life after the junior research group (in a couple of weeks, there will only be me left from what was at some point a 7-person-group), I came to think about what makes one feel like being part of a scientific community and what it is worth for one’s research to belong to such a community.

The crucial question is of course: How do you define a community when you have been like me, working for almost 15 years with humanists of all flavors? Continue reading “What is a scientific community about anyway?”