Saturday, September 11, 2004

Still working through boxes. I think I'm going to be flipping through books forever. The 10 volume complete prose works of Milton (really 8 volumes, but 2 have a part 1 and part 2) had 6 pages with annotations. To put this into context, each book has something between 300 - 900 pages. The impulse at times like this is to go fast, but one needs to go slow because it's so easy to look over a page without really taking anything in.

So, I'll leave you with a quote from Jack Goody's Power of the Written Tradition which I've been rereading for my dissertation:

"Not only do the genres differ, but even some of these that are universal change their characteristics over time. A written work necessarily has a beginning, a middle, and an end. An oral composition may be added to at any time and by different people. The notion of unity, so central to a feature of post-Aristotelian literary criticism, is much less useful in examining an oral product. What one hears on a particular occasion is less likely to be the product of a single human mind at a single point in time than it would be with a literary work. The notion of the individual signature at the bottom of the canvas is out of place when the mural has been touched and retouched by numerous hands in the course of its preparation" (13).

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