Reconfiguring Romanticism in the Information Age
A Special Session, Modern Language Assoc. Convention
Held on Dec. 29, 1996
Sheraton Washington, Washington, D. C.

(This page created 8/12/96, last revised 2/26/97.)

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Arrangements were made for a modem link to the Internet and computer projection equipment. Due to problems with the Internet service provider, however (all lines were busy), no live link was achieved at the event. Instead, the session showed fully functional copies of web pages served from a locally based proxy server.
[info] = Information on Speaker

Session Introduction
Alan Liu  
[info] Brief overview of the way the online medium--which brings the cultures of "information" and "knowledge work" to bear on the cultures of the book--adds another dimension to the current "canon wars" and "culture wars." Are wars over book-borne literary-historical and cultural values diminished in the context of the current information world of "workplace 2000," where the dominant cultural wars are those of a "global competition" seemingly oblivious to the value of any historical culture, canonical or non-canonical? Can canonical and/or non-canonical literary history--its principles, its methods, its care--be posed next to information culture so that the two can mutually criticize and illuminate each other?

Following the framing statement, participants were introduced.

[Text of Overview] (under construction)

(10 minutes each)
Laura Mandell
[info] Presentation on The Romantic Chronology Web project.

Joseph Viscomi
[info] Presentation on The Blake Archive Web project.

Jack Lynch
[info] Presentation on Frankenstein: The Pennsylvania Electronic Edition, which will initially be CD-ROM based but may eventually interface with the Web.

Elizabeth Fay
[info] Presentation on The Bluestocking Archive Web project.

(5-minute informal position statements intended to provoke discussion)
Michael Gamer
[info] A critique of the degree to which Web resources are actually, as opposed to putatively, non-canonical or extra-canonical in ways that take advantage of the difference of the medium from the print- and publisher-centered media. (Gamer may refer to his Romantic Links, Home Pages, and Electronic Texts for comparison.)

Morri Safran
[info] Position statement on the pedagogical and technological aspects of bringing the literary canon, and non-canon, to the Web. Safran will refer to the Web project she has co-authored with Daniel Anderson of the U. Texas, Austin, Computer Writing Research Labs on Richard Polwhele's The Unsex'd Females (1798). Titled Women of the Romantic Period, the project presents the text and notes to Polwhele's poem, which attacks Romantic-era women authors; but it brushes the poem against the grain by using hypertext and a parallel-column frames structure to convert it into a guide to the works and background of those authors (in effect allowing the women to respond). The project is being used in serveral courses at U. Texas, Austin, where students contribute to building it. (See tour of project.)

Steven E. Jones
[info] Statement reflecting on the current moment of tense negotiation between print and online media by the editor of the Keats-Shelley Journal (a print journal with a Web presence) and co-editor of the online Romantic Circles project.

(35-minute discussion period)
  The discussion will involve all participants and interested audience members, including several editors of recent Romanticism print-anthologies and/or developers of other online Romanticism resources likely to be attendance.

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Session Organizers: Laura Mandell (Dept. of English, Miami U., Ohio) and Alan Liu (Dept. of English, U. California, Santa Barbara). You can write both of us together at this address.