Blog #5 || Oct. 8

I found the process of curation an interesting exercise because it challenged us to look at texts in the context of their production rather than their textual content. This is, for the most part, the opposite of what we have been trained to do as English students. It was nonetheless interesting to analyze a text in the context of its production: its history, its publishers, its editors, etc. “Goblin Market”s extensive history of reproduction was especially interesting because we got to trace its cultural transformation from poem, to art book, to children’s fairy story, to a Freudian treasure-trove, to pulp fiction and so on. I gained a new appreciation for the knowledge contained in the paratext.

However, this week was also an example of how virtual classes can be a hindrance. The curation exercise would undoubtedly be much easier if we were able to physically access the texts we were working with, rather than relying on incomplete pdf scans and virtual tours. We’re lucky that Alison Skyrme was able to give us virtual flip-throughs of the texts, but I wish we could have had some physical interaction with the collection, as well.

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Material Analysis in Virtual Context

You are so right. The curation activity would have been so much better if eeach curator could have worked physically with their textual object. The support of the SC librarian was invaluable, both in providing partial scans and giving real-time access to contents as needed.