Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I spent the first part of the day browsing through the 13 boxes of material Fr. Ong sent to the archives over the years (we hope to have the rest of the collection moved over to the library by the end of next week). Browsed through 3 boxes of typescripts which included various drafts of RamusDialogue and Decay, the Talon Inventory, In the Human Grain, Presence of the Word, Knowledge and the Future of Man, Interfaces of the Word, Rhetoric, Romance, and Technology, Fighting for Life, Hopkins, Self, and God, and Orality and Literacy.

Also browsed 3 boxes of "works," mostly offprints but some typescripts of adresses, papers, and the account of his 1968 trip to Leningrad. I'm taken by the idea of putting together an electronic text which combines the account with the slides. After browsing through the works boxes, I read "Media Transformed: The Talked Book" (1972) and "History and the Future of Verbal Media" (1974), which is an expanded version of "Media Transformed." I should have completed the set by reading the 1975 "Translated Media: The Talked Book," but I integrated some additional offprints instead. While the general rule for archiving is not to modify or change the arrangement or collection, the decision has been made that Fr. Ong's intent was to establish a comprehensive collection, so we're filling in the gaps as we can.

After integrating the extra works, I browsed the three offprint boxes (offprints of other people's work that were given to Fr. Ong). Most, but not all are signed. A not entirely random sampling include works by Eric Auerback, Kennith Burke, Peter Elbow, Richard Enos, John Miles Foley, Henry Louis Gates, Eric Havelok (includes a photocopied trypescript draft of the first chapter to A Greek Muse Learns to Write and a short proposed chapter by chapter summary for the rest of the book), Ivan Illich, Marshall McLuhan, and Deborah Tannen.

After lunch, I spent some time reading Ong-related material (I'm supposed to read more than I have as to better evaluate what we have). I decided to start Beth Daniels' dissertation. I'm trying to be generous in my reading of it, but no matter how hard I try, I can't read it as anything but a misreading/misunderstanding of Ong. And when I do find myself agreeing with what she is saying, she's not aruging with Ong but with others who are citing Ong to help bolster their own arguments, or she is arguing with people who discuss, in broad terms, the same sorts of issues as Ong. The problem is, it seems to me, her method of critique is to argue "these people are wrong, and because these people cite Ong or talk about the same issues as Ong, Ong is wrong."

I don't work tomorrow, but I'll post some cool quotes I found today.


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