Saturday, July 17, 2004

Spent Thursday and Friday taking an inventory of a box labeled "lectures" which Fr. Ong had given the library in 1995. A note included with the box states that many but not all the lectures had been published in one form or another, sometimes under very different titles. Many have corrections, annotations, and suggested changes for different audiences. To give an example, one of the most complicated I've found, the talk "Writing is a Technology that Restructures Thought" seems to have been given 5/12/84 and 10/26/84, has an alternative opening which was used in 1/22/85, and was retitled "The Transformation of Orality by Literacy" for 4/11/87. I haven't bothered to work out which sections were read at which times, though my impression is that the annotations are clear enough it should usually be possible. And to make this even more complex, there's a different folder with the lecture "Writing: The Technology that Restructures Thought" which was delivered 10/10/85 and 4/4/86. It should be interesting to see how the two lectures and their variations differ, but that's a job for much later on.

Every time I look at the various materials, I'm struck by just how meticulous Fr. Ong was in keeping notes and records

I have found many cool pieces, including sections taken out of the Presence of the Word and Interfaces of the Word. One short piece which caught my eye was "Remembrance: The Past as Life for the Future," discarded from "Maranatha: Death and Life in the Text of the Book" (which is ch. 9 of IW. In it, Fr. Ong makes some of the same claims about literature as memory that I've been making in my dissertation.

Thursday afternoon, John Waide and I met with Fr. Padberg, the rector of the Jesuit community on campus. We've cleared a working and storage space for the project in the archive/rare book stacks by moving some post-1800 books, and we can now have the entire Ong collection moved over from Jesuit Hall. There are 39 archive boxes, 18 deep file cabinet drawers, a number of metal boxes with note cards, and some miscellaneous boxes. We randomly pulled a folder out of one of the file cabinets and found in it a typescript, some letters relating to it, and a reel-to-reel audio tape.


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