Week 9

Week 9 Road Trip to Princeton Library Outline
Alison Devine, Sierra Eckert, Cathy Park
Victorian Literature and Culture, ENGL 111
March 18, 2013

Charles Reade, Hard Cash; Reade’s archive at Princeton’s Firestone library,
Lewis F. Haines, “Reade’s Realistic Method; Mary Poovey, “Forgotten Writers, Neglected Histories”; Ann Blair, selection from Too Much to Know; Sianne Ngai, “Merely Interesting”;Roland Barthes, from Preparation of the Novel; Andrew Piper, from Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times and companion website.

1. Show and Tell! Talk a little about your copy of Hard Cash
  a. How did our different editions/different copies speak to us?
  b. Talk about one interesting aspect of the material text

2. Framing Reade in the field of Victorian authors/reviewers
  a. Jeannette’s criticism summary: Poovey
    i. The culture of the review and the role of critics (“Criticasters”)
    ii. The role of the public/ Trust in the public opinion
    iii. Think back to Dames, Price
    iv. Oliphant’s critique: Idealism/Realism
      1. “Idealism was a search for higher truths arrived at by improving reality in writing; realism was       the search for the same through examination of the everyday.”
      2. How do we handle past week’s text in this dichotomy?

  b. Historical context:
    i. Blair’s Too Much to Know
      1. Shifts in practice: 18th to 19th, 19th to 20th
        a. Engagement with Moral Truth
        b. Paratextual information/Structural
        c. Why does Hard Cash look like a 18th C/20th C novel when it is, in fact, a 19th C
         novel? What institution was Reade writing against?

  c. Michael’s criticism summary: Haines
    i. Philology and Philosophy: Using evidence to depict “real truths”
      1. English Empiricism
    ii. Distinctions: Reade and Zola
      1. Two types of “new scientific” literature
      2. Two types of engaging with “empirical reality”
    iii. Research vs. Experimentation
      1. Can “mere” indexing lead to the creation of “new” truths?
      2. Fiction as bringing light into art/reality? of art/reality?

3. Reade’s Aesthetics, via Miriam’s close reading
  a. Oliphant’s critique of Reade and the popular fiction market
  b. “Authors such as Margaret Oliphant bemoaned the low evaluative capacities of the reading public, who knew how to read but were otherwise not largely educated. In Oliphant’s words, ‘the existence of a mass of people whose education consists solely of the power to read, has called into being a mass of printed matter which cannot in any way be called literature’ (Oliphant in Poovey 439)” (Miriam)
  c. Reade’s fiction in the market
    i. How does the text portray art in the market?
      1. Close Reading (280 in Miriam’s copy)
    ii. How was Reade’s text received?

4. Putting it all together:
  a. Heteroglossia in Hard Cash via Christina’s paper
    i. The use of multiple voices, slang, jargon in Hard Cash
      1. Referentiality
      2. The distinct languages of Hard Cash: Medical, legal, class
        a. How were these researched and written?
    ii. “Reade creates his own reality effect….The words themselves, though they do not refer directly to any of these people necessarily, when strung together are the signifiers”(Christina, 4).
  b. Reade’s research:
    1. His project: a “matter-of-fact romance”
The material, empirical basis for the novel
    2.Reade’s index of the material “truth”
    3.His sources, organization
      i. Sutfield
  a. “Reade-ing” in context:
    1.Heterotopic print environments: Compare with reading Great Expectations in the context of All the Year Round

    iii. “Hard Evidence”
        1. What are we up to: looking for the material, basis for his art
              a. a “matter-of-fact” account of Reade’s practices

2. The Aesthetics of Research and Objects of Interest
  a. Bring in the Ngai, “Merely Interesting”
    i. What does “interest” mean? The evolution of “interesting” and its application to art

3. Our Research
  a. Blog posts – talk about
  b. Reflecting on note-taking, what does it mean to take notes on archive object
  c. Autonomous aesthetic note-taking
    1. Bring in our thoughts about autobiography
    2. How does the status of the note-taking change when the status of the author changes? Note-taking as a process?
    3. Objects of research, what goes in the text from the notes/what does not?

4. Practicum: How-To:Visiting Rare Book Collections and Manuscripts
  a.What are we going to do with Reade’s documents? How will we document our own notes on his notes?

To Do on the way back:
2. Big Picture:
  a. Barthes –
    i. Preparing for a Novel, a Lecture, a Seminar, etc.
    ii. Reading and Researching “works in progress”
    iii. The Material Art, materialist historiography: “Hard Art”

  b. Ngai
    i. What are we “interested” in?
    ii. The continuation of interest/propelling research

  c. Blair
    i. Note-taking:
      1. For Reade and his notecards, notebooks
      2. Us: notebooks, outline notes, Evernote, blog, doodles on your hand, virtual notes, etc

3. Documenting an archive visit
  a. Blogging/Images/Our computer notes
  b. Recap of questions that we had in Practicum
4. Anything we didn’t cover on the way there