Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tweethis Update!

Okay, so since I posted a little while ago, I discovered that someone is now following me on twitter because of my tweethis statement. The person in question is called 'Technology Coach'.

Exciting! :)

And now? Back to writing!

Tweethis Statement and A Big Thanks!

Well guys first off, thank you for all your encouraging comments on my rough draft. You guys are amazing at posting your reaction to what little I have written so far. I really appreciate it and I'll be certain to return the favor to all of you lovely people!

Now, I have worked on my tweethis statement. In fact, I posted three different ones in hopes that someone would react.

And you know what?


What a bummer it was.

However, as I was preparing to try yet ANOTHER tweethis statement I found that two people actually modified my tweet and displayed it on their sites. But beyond that there really wasn't much of a response.

How tragic.

This is what I wrote:

expand on traditional research. Now we can understand and in new,exciting ways. .

I messaged the two people who tweeted, one was the self-proclaimed "grammar police" (gulp. Maybe I spelled something wrong?) and the other was a  commentator on politics (weird combination but okay :) ). I hope to hear from them soon! Maybe they'll retweet me again?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Let every man be master of his time"-Getting my draft going!

FIRST: a bit of humor for all of us to enjoy. I love Calvin and Hobbes and I hope that you can get a kick out of this:

Alright. I have a beginning of my draft for you. I know that it isn't much and it is all over the place. I fear it may seem almost trivial in some areas as well. However, I know that I need to get this up and continue to piece things together.

In a way it reminds me of my own method of thinking for this paper. I'm trying to piece together the various parts of my argument and research in such a way that the thoughts become cohesive and relatable to one another.

Also, I want to make sure that my argument is strong and important. I would hate to feel like I'm not doing this subject justice. How horrible would that be?! without further floundering and justifying here's my super rough rough rough draft/outline for you to read. Enjoy and encourage and criticize if you will. I appreciate any insight you can give me.

Rough Draft


This is a really interesting development for digital humanities that I thought I would share with you:

A digital humanities journal will be published in March!

"Tell my story"-Answering a question

In my previous post about watching "Hamlet" with my husband, I contemplated the ideas behind Shakespeare's shift between prose and verse. I was curious to see why this happened and so I posed this question to Dr. Hope and inquired if he had done any research on it or knew of anyone that had.

Here's the reply I just received:

Hi Kaleigh

we haven't looked at this yet, though it would not be too difficult to do, and I'm sure would produce interesting results. I'm sure the shifts are not random.

There is a basic pattern of class here: generally higher class characters speak verse, and lower class prose, but this is by no means *always* true.

Do you know Brian Vickers' book *The Artistry of Shakespeare's Prose*? Well worth a look


So, no definitive answers, but speculation. And I got another reference to look into! That's a bonus right? :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Within the book and volume of my brain"-Phase 2 Review

I hope that I can accurately detail what I've been up to this past week. I've certainly made a lot of progress but there is still so much more to do!

But onto what I've accomplished so far!

I've been working on getting more social contacts with whom I can compare ideas and ask questions to. Last time I mentioned Stanley Fish (SQUEE!) But this past week I've had success in contacting Dr. Jonathan Hope and Cyrus Mulready:

Cyrus Mulready

Dr. Hope

I'm still in contact with both of these men and I hope to hear back soon with more answers to some of my inquiries!


In relation to my outside research I've been spending time reading books, newspaper articles, blogs, e-mail responses, podcasts, and articles. I posted a small annotated bibliography of a small sampling of things that I've been reading.

Annotated Bibliography


In the digital world (where my focus is truly located) I went in search of some insight through visual means. I came across this lecture (On Youtube yes...) through a great university that really enhanced my understanding of the digital humanities movement:


As I've been contemplating my current research texts, I viewed the 1990 version of "Hamlet" starring Mel Gibson, Glen Close and Ian Holm. I've written about my research and observations about the movie here:



I think I've decided on a thesis or rough idea for my paper. I want to discuss the grammar of Shakespeare's plays as seen through the lens of the digital sphere. The grammar promoted by Shakespeare is enhanced through a digital study and you can observe unique nuances and trends that could not be noticed otherwise.


It seems like there's been so much more that I could post on right now, but I first need to get things organized and sorted before I do that! I hope, though, that this gives you a little peek into what I'm working on.

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Tell my story"-Review of Hamlet

"Hamlet" is the first of a few plays that I am hoping to really delve into and discover grammatical/syntactic curiosities within them. So, as part of our research for this past week Dr. Burton suggested finding a digital adaptation of the play of our choice and giving a review of it.

I was torn throughout the week as to which play I should view/listen to or if I should find more than one. It wasn't until today through the persuasion and guidance of others that I've decided to delve into more than one play.

However, I knew that I always wanted to view "Hamlet" and report on that. I mean the title of my blog should tell you that I really enjoy this play. There are so many aspects of it that really strike me as profound.

My husband, who has never seen an adaptation of the play was interested in watching a production with me. So we hunted (quite literally) for the 1990 version starring Mel Gibson. This version is one of my personal favorites because it is one of the first renditions of "Hamlet" that I've ever seen.


It took several days to find a copy of it, but fortunately we were successful!

And, as we sat down tonight, after our babies went to sleep, I pulled out my computer and linked to the text of the play in order to follow along as I was watching so that I could understand how the text is interpreted through the digital lens of movie making.

And I noticed a few things that I wouldn't have recognized initially.

First with the setting and characterizations and costuming:

I found each of these aspects to be fascinating while watching this version of the play/movie. I noticed that the setting itself is very dark, dank, and dismal. Even when the sun is shining there is a muted color scheme portrayed. This really sets the stage for the events of the story to unfold and gives the audience a visual aspect to associate with the tenor of the play.

The characterizations and costuming, to me, were well done. You could clearly see the dynamics in personality and temperment portrayed by the characters/actors. Each person, Mel Gibson, Glen Close, Ian Holm, were all characterized by what they wore and the expressions they portrayed upon their faces. If you notice while watching the movie, Gibson/Hamlet is ALWAYS dressed in dark colors. ALWAYS. Even when he is attending the play, he is wearing his dark suit underneath his crimson overclothes. He is often seen staring intently at others or out a window, lost in his own thoughts and brooding. His mother, on the other hand, is usually portrayed in light, brighter coloring. Her hair is also very fair and she usually has a smile upon her face or a worried expression on her brow. She seems to be a more innocent character. Polonius, too is dressed in dark colors much like Hamlet (correlation perhaps?) but he frequently displays his ability to TALK and great deal. He prone ot expressing his opinion through speech and high handed wit.

But, I decided to go further than observing the physical aspects of the play itself. I wanted to compare the text to the rendition with Mel Gibson in it. And I noticed that there is a lot missing in the movie that you don't find in the play, though this isn't surprising. Also, there seems to be a lot of switching of scenes. Different scenes are placed sooner or later than they originally were intended. It seems to me that this was done to enhance the emotional response of the audience set the viewer up for a dramatic climax.

Also, I noticed a few grammatical curiosities while watching and reading the play/movie.

For example:

There is A LOT of alliteration in Hamlet. I mean there's a ton of it! I noticed while reading the text that it is found everywhere. Like here:

Claudius: When sorrows come, they come not single spies,


Ophelia: O, woe is me
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
In reference to the movie adaptation, every time alliteration was used there was a distinct emphasis placed upon those words. It seemed that Shakespeare structured the sentences and lines in such a way that a natural inflection was given to them when the speaker took on the role of their character. I found it interesting in the movie that Hamlet, Ophelia, and especially Polonius adjusted their speech patterns around the alliteration found within the lines.

ANOTHER thing I noticed was that very often throughout the play and movie, the character of Hamlet was often speaking in PROSE instead of verse. For instance, when Hamlet is speaking his "To be or not to be" soliloquoy, he is most certainly speaking in verse. BUT, when Hamlet is angry with Ophelia and goes on his rant against her, he is speaking in prose.

Here are the examples:

I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation
prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the king
and queen moult no feather. I have of late--but
wherefore I know not--lost all my mirth, forgone all
custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily
with my disposition that this goodly frame, the
earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most
excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave
o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted
with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to
me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,
what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not
me: no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling
you seem to say so.
Watching Mel Gibson portray Hamlet and watching his anger against Ophelia (and likewise her reactions) in prose got me to thinking about exactly WHY Shakespeare used prose throughout his most passionate scenes. Why choose prose when poetry could suffice? Was it simply because of the natural flow of things. OR perhaps Shakespeare intended his scenes, where emotions and tensions run particularly mad, to be presented in prose to show the degeneration of thought and mental capacity?

It does make sense to me.  

"Strong reasons make strong actions"-Annotated Bibliography


I still have a few articles and books that I'm browsing through, and a few more that I'm trying to find the references to again so that I can study those, but I do have a small list of some of the research that I've been working on. I hope that you find it interesting and informative.

·         "The Unabridged Oxford English Dictionary"

o   Pretty straightforward with the title. This is the dictionary of the English language in its unabridged glory. It shows all the known English words and allows for the browsing of specific aspects of such words.

·          "Shakespeare Lexicon and Quotation Dictionary" (Alexander Schmidt, 1902)

o   These books (there are two volumes) contain all the known phrases and words that are in every work by William Shakespeare. They effectively catalogue all the things that Shakespeare published in his works. It helps me to research the language of Shakespeare and keep track of everything that is found in his work.

·         "The Harvard Concordance to Shakespeare" (Marvin Spevack, 1973)

o   This is another volume of the phrases and words found in Shakespeare’s works. Each word is catalogued in alphabetical order and each word is then portrayed with the reference to which plays these words are found in specifically. Very informative and effective if categorizing the words and phrases of Shakespeare

·         "The Language of Shakespeare" (G. L. Brooks, 1976)

o   Picking up this book this week! I’ll keep you updated on its contents!

·        " Infoviz and New Literacies | Digital Humanities Specialist"

o   Discusses the shift to the digital age and the significance that it has for our visually oriented generation. Argues the point that digital humanities can enhance the concepts of traditional research while giving the people something visually stimulating to grasp onto and contemplate.

·         Fish, Stanley;  "Mind Your P’s and B’s: The Digital Humanities and Interpretation"

o   Goes into detail about Dr. Fish’s understanding of digital humanities and the enhancement that it gives to traditional research. Dr. Fish (Ah! Still can’t believe he answered me!) He argues the fact that while digital humanities are good to explore, traditional research should be the foundation and focus of research. If you don’t understand the text itself then you won’t fully comprehend the illuminations of digital research methods.

·         University of Strathclyde, Glasgow; "Shakespeare's skill 'more in grammar than in words"

o   The listed article discusses Dr. Jonathan Hope’s research on the grammar of Shakespeare and how it is much more significant than the simple word creation that is often the focus of many research pursuits. Dr. Hope contends that word creation was not uncommon during Shakespeare’s time and so the bard is not unique in that respect. What is interesting is HOW he used those words and structured sentences to promote his poetry and plays.

"Action is eloquence"-Another reply!

Last week I posted that I had contacted a Shakespeare class from a university in New York. New Paltz to be more specific. Now, to refresh your memories a little bit, these students are studying Shakespeare through interpretation of the text and only that. They don't use anything (other than posting on their blog) in their studies.

Needless to say I found that fascinating.

So I contacted the professor and he quickly responded to my inquiries of why he chose to teach that way and what he felt about digital humanities. And, while he answered these he also posed questions on his own!

Here's a recap of his e-mail:

"Dear Kaleigh,

Thank you for your e-mail and interest in my blogging assignment. I've pasted below a rather full reflection on my thinking behind the blog that I posted for my students a few semesters ago:

You might also find the assignment that the students respond to helpful:

The only thing I'd add is that the assignment has been successful for me, and as a professor, I enjoy reading my students' open reflections on Shakespeare. It makes my students better readers of the text, too, as the assignment forces students to respond very carefully to the material before they share their thoughts with the class (and general public).

Let me know if you have any other questions. Also, may I ask how you came to the blog? Was it through a google search, or did someone refer it to you?

Best wishes,
Cyrus Mulready"

To be honest I do have a few more specific questions to ask him and I'm also hoping to see if he'd be willing to do a debate/conference with out class if at all possible to explore his teachings methods and compare it to the structure of our class.

Sounds like a good thing eh? :) 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I need some advice!

Alright guys,

I must confess that I'm a little uncertain as to where to go at this point. One of our requirements this week is to view or listen to the work we've chosen to analyze further. For me and the topic I've chosen (a study of the digital humanities and Shakespeare) I've come to debate of whether I should place my attention to a specific play or diversify things a bit more. Maybe two plays? Any suggestions? I'm viewing one play right now and I want to make sure I cover things thoroughly enough while at the same time showing the correlation between digital humanities and Shakespeare. So should I expand my horizons a little more?

Does that make sense?

Any advice guys?

"The golden age is before us"-The Digital Humanities....digitized!

Did the title make sense?

Anyway, if not I'll explain.

What I have here is a almost a 2 hour lecture that I came across on youtube. I it is promoted by Columbia University and has a lot of information available on it. I realize that this may be WAY longer than anyone will want to listen to, but I thought that I would post it for those of you who may be interested in noting what I'm up to or to investigate it for yourself!

The lecture and lecturers go into detail as to why the digital humanities are significant and how things have changed towards more acceptance of the digital humanities genre. It really is interesting. I'll have to listen to it again in order to fully understand everything.

"Can one desire too much of a good thing?"-More Answers!

I confess that I've started several different posts only to have them saved rather than actually uploading them! Shame on me! So, here's yet another blog-a-thon for your enjoyment. Rest assured that I'm not slacking in my research, I'm just a terribly silly person for not actually uploading anything! Geez!

Anyway, As I was saying last week Dr. Jonathan Hope was another contact who actually wrote me back! What a great thing it was to hear from him. And, not only did he write me once, but twice! With amazing information and links to follow up on. Here's what he had to say to me when I inquired about how he got started in the digital humanities and why he was so interested in them:

"Mike Witmore and I got into digital humanities by accident really, but we both feel that it offers new, and in many cases, better, ways of understanding texts and the relationships between them. Though we do not think, unlike some in the field, that it is a replacement for traditional reading - we see it as a prosthetic. To understand the results you get from digital analysis, you need to know the texts in traditional ways.

If you want to look into this more, you should listen to a lecture Mike gave at the Folger Shakespeare Library

- here's the transcript:

and here's an article about our work:

and there's more detailed stuff on our blog:

In case you are interested, I've also attached a piece I wrote on Shakespeare's language - not digital humanities as such, but it has been mentioned in the press recently

let me know if you have any more questions!

I won't attach the article because it is over 12 pages long! But, if anyone is interested in it I would happily e-mail it to you! And as for the other links he posted, they are really informative and interesting and I advise following them and investigating things further!

Also, when I inquired further for me detail and information about what he found to be significant about digital humanities and whether or not he felt like they helped or hindered understanding Shakespeare (and specifically whether or not he felt like this form was superior to traditional ones) he replied again stating:

"well, we don't think digital approaches take the emphasis or significance away from the text: quite the opposite.

Have a look at the blog post I just did at winedarksea on Midsummer Night's Dream: digital tools enable us to identify shifts in pronoun use in that play that you couldn't discover any other way - but in order to understand those shifts, you have to go back to the text, and think about it as a work of drama: what is it in the way the play works that makes Shakespeare write like that?

I like how he made a plug for his own blog as answer for me! It really was informative and I appreciated him writing back and giving me a heads up about what he's working on. It's really awesome!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Boldness be my friend!"-HE ANSWERED ME!


I would have written this post much sooner but alas my internet was down and I'm STILL feel pretty crummy...


I'm finally writing this post finally to tell you my amazingly awesome news! I received replies from TWO of my contacts! One of which was.....STANLEY FISH!

I know I squealed excitedly (much like a little girl) and couldn't function for ten whole minutes. All I could repeat was:

"I can't believe he replied! Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness..."

My husband stared at me for a few seconds to let me calm down and then asked what he had written.

"I haven't looked at it yet."

And I couldn't! I just couldn't look at it! I stared at my computer and my stomach just churned, my thoughts provoking all my insecurities.

'What is he thinks I'm an idiot' I kept musing. 'What if he writes a really mean reply?'

Or worse, as Dr. Burton suggested: 'What if it's only an automated response?'

Ah! Talk about a motivation to actually click on the e-mail and read it.

I confess it took A LONG time to work up the courage to click on the e-mail. A simple click and I couldn't do it for hours! Hours!

But, finally I did it. I clicked on the e-mail....

And, well, I'll let you read it.

"In genreal my view is that digital techniques can do some tasks of sorting and frequency either more quickly or on a vaster scale than can traditional interpretive methods . But what they can't do is provide or come up with the interpretive thesis without which text mining is just a form of play. If you had formulated a reading of Shakespeare and wanted to know whether certain formal patterns would lend it support , it might well be useful to run the numbers . I think Hope agrees with me. All my considered views on this matter are contained in the three NYTimes pieces--sf "

It wasn't so bad! He wasn't mean or critical or anything. Actually, he was very simple in his response. I appreciated his reference to his other articles on the subject. He answered the questions I proposed to him concerning his opinion about digital humanities and he took the time to clarify information for me. I suspected that perhaps he didn't like digital humanities AT ALL, but he surprised me. I guess I just didn't read his articles well enough, but it is nice to have him clarify things for me personally. He even mentioned another of my contacts, Dr. Hope and his views on the matter (I'll post that in the next blogging).

All things considered I'm pretty happy. It may be a short response but it really gives me a great understanding of what a major critic thinks about the digital humanities. I think that helps a bit!

Don't you?

Monday, February 13, 2012

"The makings of..."-Progress Report

As a review for the last week, I've done several things to try and cover all my bases in the research department. It has been a lot of interesting and exciting work and I'm anxious to see what this week brings me.

Here's a recap of Phase 1:


- I've really worked hard to understand the digital humanities aspect of researching Shakespeare and grammar and why it is so significant. I've posted several things about this, from contacts I've made to things I've noticed. Here's a few links to some of the posts I've done:

Textual Analysis:

-This area is one that I'm in the process of delving into more deeply. There are just so many different facets of language that I'm working to understand with Shakespeare! I can see why it is truly a lifelong pursuit! But for the sake of keeping you all informed as to what I've done, here's a link to the post I wrote:

Social Proof:

-I would have to say that this is the most complete aspect of my research thus far. I've contacted SEVERAL people in an attempt to understand their reasearch as well as the digital humanities movement. Here's a link to some of my posts about my efforts:

I hope this helps you understand my research a little better! As always if you guys have any suggestions or insight for me, I'd love to hear it!

"The play's the thing"-Textual Analysis

I thought that since I haven't already done so, I need to give a quick little review of what I've been doing, textually, to enhance my research and understand Shakespeare better.
While I do feel as though this is one area that I need to put more emphasis on, I have been studying the texts and noting many grammatical quirks that Shakespeare employed. I'd like to share something with you.

Shakespeare certainly liked to mix up the sentence order!

- If you look closely at some of the texts, like "Hamlet" for instance you may notice that not all sentences and speeches are written in the form of:

Subject-verb-object, etc.

Rather, Shakespeare took great pains to mix things up a bit write his sentences backwards to our modern tastes. Let me give you a few examples:

In ACT I Scene I of "Hamlet" Horatio speaks:

Before my God, I might not this believe
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.
Another can be noted here in ACT III Scene II

Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
Mother, you have my father much offended.
It is interesting to note these difference in grammatical structure. And they are scattered throughout the entire play! I think that this structure helps to bring the poetic and artistic flare to the production, but I almost get the impression that there's more to it than just that.

It certainly is interesting to see how he plays with the structure! It sort of reminds of of this guy:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Nothing can come of nothing"-Social Proof 3


I warned you that I had a lot to write about but that I've been ill this week. So here's yet ANOTHER post for your enjoyment.

This time I have a few more bits of information to share with you.

The first?

Well it's a blog by some students in New York who are studying Shakespeare simply through studying the texts (or that's how it appears to me). The lovely Mikhaela is actually the one who found this awesome, yet confusing blog, so let me first give credit to her! Thanks Mikhaela!

Here's the link to the blog:

New Paltz Shakespeare

*TARA* this is the link that I promised you! I hope that you find it interesting.

I'm hoping to hear back from the professor, Cyrus Mulready, to get more information about his teaching method as well as maybe setting up a discussion with his class and ours if at all possible. I think that would be awesome! Don't you? Plus their blog is very interesting and I enjoy the insight that they bring to the texts themselves.


I talked to a professor about pursuing researching the digital humanities and connecting that to Shakespeare and grammar (hopefully!). You guys probably know him....his name is Gideon Burton.

Does this even count as social proof? Maybe it's cheating just a little bit...

Anyway, we discussed the importance of the digital humanities movement and how is has had a great impact on how people study and comprehend things, as well as how there is still a large debate going on between whether or not it is effective to the extent of traditional research. Professor Burton gave me the link to a website that I thought I'd share:

I'm just starting to get through the information but one little quote stuck out to me that I thought I'd share with you:

" I hope that the digital humanities can act as an impetus to demand better and more varied forms of literacy from our general academic (and by extension, public) audiences. The communication of information should not start by assuming poor visual literacy, network literacy and spatial literacy but rather should foster and demand increased levels of each. "

"Nothing can come of nothing,"-Social Research 2

Alright! Another post for you...

I mentioned in my last post that I contacted Stanley Fish...yeah...

Well I've contacted a few other people along side of him.

One person that I've contacted is Dr. Jonathan Hope. I mentioned his blog earlier. It refers to researching the works of Shakespeare, specifically the grammar. He is also the one referenced in the Huffington Post comment.

Here's his website/blog again:

When I stumbled across his website, I went to Twitter to see if he was available on there for contact. SURPRISE! He was! Hooray!

So I started stalking him (creepy right?) And he actually responded! He asked to e-mail him and that he'd love to talk more with about his reasearch. He also mentioned Stanley Fish  in one of his posts, so I inquired about how he felt about the criticism that Fish has with the digital humanities.

I'm just waiting to hear back from him!

"Nothing can come of nothing"-Social Proof

I realize that I've been sort of MIA for the last few days. Please forgive that. I've been battling a nasty cold that's completely knocked me off my feet. However, I have been pursuing several avenues of research and I'll relate them to you in the next for posts.

First though, I think I should modify my research topic and enlighten you to the current path that I'm on at the moment. Instead of merely looking into the grammar of Shakespeare, I've started thinking about the whole 'digital humanities' aspect of literary study. I think that I'd like to study how people have been applying these digital studies to understanding the grammar of Shakespeare and whether or not it is more beneficial to pursue study in this manner or to go a more "traditional" route.


At least I think so.

After concluding this to be a topic of interest, I began to hunt, twitter-stalk, and blog-stalk several different people. And I've found a few people that I'm attempting to contact, who can hopefully give me more insight into their understanding of the digital humanities.

The first one I'd like to share is my attempt to contact an amazingly profound literary critic who currently is opposed to using the digital field.  He has a few articles in the "New York Times" that you can view: Article 1 Article 2.  These articles detail the reasoning behind using more traditional approaches to studying the humanities. They are very interesting to say the least!

So I decided I needed to contact him. *Gulp* This is the conversation I had with myself (not out loud mind you, but it's still just as amusing):

Optimistic Me: You can do this! It's not so bad. You're intelligent!

Cynical Me: Yeah right! You can't do this. This is crazy! He'll never respond!

Optimistic Me: You never know what could happen. He may be impressed with your questions.

Cynical Me: Oh come on! It's STANLEY FISH! He could writing a scathing reply to you or worse post something in the "New York Times" about the stupid girl who decided to send him an e-mail. How awkward would that be?

Optimistic Me: Well at least I'd be famous! I don't know I think I can do this.

Cynical Me: Can't!

Optimistic Me: CAN! I'm typing it right now! Ha!

*click click clickity click*

Optimistic Me: Done! I've sent it!


Me (out loud): Ah! I just wrote an e-mail to Stanley Fish! Stanley Freaking Fish! What was I thinking?!

Yeah, I may or may not be a little intimidated by Dr. Fish. He's a pretty powerful guy. And I may have just shown all you readers just how crazy I am.  However, I actually sent the e-mail despite all the inner bantering. So, I hope he writes back! How awesome would that be?!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Words Words..."-Social Research Outreach

Alright! I've been working diligently (cough cough) on getting together sources and contacting people for my research paper. I've decided to look into the grammar aspect of Shakespeare an see how he has affected our linguistics and grammar today.

Interesting topic?

Anyway, I've found a blog and a newspaper article that actually discuss these facets of Shakespeare's works so I thought I'd share them with you!

The first thing I'd like to share is this awesome blog: Languages of the World which posted information on how words were "originally" pronounced during Shakespeare's time. The post talks about how modern American English is actually closer to what was spoken during Shakespeare's time. I'm not sure how reliable this source is, so I'm in the process of contacting the creator of the blog and getting more background information from her.

The other thing I have to share is an article by The Huffington Post. This was written just a few weeks ago and it discusses how the grammar of Shakespeare may have been more impactful than just his word creation. I'm also going to see if I can't contact Jonathan Hope, the researcher and professor mentioned in the article and see what his whole research is about. He has a website/blog, , that goes into detail about some of his research, but I'd like to get more information from him about this as well and look into all the research they have done and are currently doing on the project.

I'm also reviewing scholarly articles and the references that were given to me early by my e-mail contact. I've got a lot to do!

Sound like a plan guys? I'm pretty excited!

Friday, February 3, 2012

"A rhapsody of words"-Renditions of Shakespeare

Like I said with "The Merchant of Venice," I love love love listening to people perform Shakespeare! And Hamlet is a dear favorite of mine. So I was excited to listen to the rendition we were required to hear.

What I'm in love with, in regards to audio performances, is how your really get a better sense of the characters and emotions that Shakespeare was trying to convey. It makes the play much more relatable and understandable (at least to me). I appreciate the inflections and the shifts in intonation that take place. I really become acquainted with the characters that way.

And this got me thinking about all the different performances of "Hamlet" and Shakespeare for that matter and how people might prepare to perform such pieces. What sort of study do they employ (if any) in preparing to become another person? Do they attempt to mimic other performances? I know that when we were performing this particular play in high school, we studied the Mel Gibson version, noting the movements and emotional tensions between characters. This aided our production.

But is it the same for all performers? And if so, why do we each interpret Shakespeare so differently?

For instance, I have three performances of the famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy by three exceptional actors. However, each performance is different in regards to inflection, intonation and emotion.

Mel Gibson Kenneth Branagh
David Tennant

But, is there one actor that stands out above the others? Is there a superior performance of "Hamlet?" Seeing that there are so many different interpretations for Shakespeare, what do you think denotes an exceptional performance? Or, are there strengths in every performance of Shakespeare?

Weigh in and let me know what you think!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"As good luck would have it,"-Research Update!

Shakespeare Resource Center

As promised I have an update for you! I've been researching, pretty heavily, grammar changes due to Shakespeare. Originally, I wanted to see if there was a corpus specifically tailored to Shakespeare. During this search I came across a few things. The first, are several articles that go into the grammar of Shakespeare. I'm still working my way through them and I'll post them when/if I find something of interest. The other thing I found was a website, "The Shakespeare Resource Center," which goes into details concerning Shakespeare's life and works. What piqued my interest, though, was the section detailing Shakespeare's grammar and speech. My initial reaction was 'JACKPOT!' I thought I had found my golden goose, so to say. But, it wasn't exactly what I was hoping to find in the way of a corpus. The information provided is exceptional and extremely informative and I find that it aids in my understanding of just how complex Shakspeare was. For instance, when detailing the SYNTAX  of the Shakespeare's language, it states that:

The most common simple sentence in modern English follows a familiar pattern: Subject (S), Verb (V), Object (O). To illustrate this, we'll devise a subject (John), a verb (caught), and an object (the ball). Thus, we have an easily understood sentence, "John caught the ball." This is as perfectly an understood sentence in modern English as it was in Shakespeare's day. However, Shakespeare was much more at liberty to switch these three basic components—and did, quite frequently. Shakespeare used a great deal of SOV inversion, which renders the sentence as "John the ball caught." This order is commonly found in Germanic languages (moreso in subordinate clauses), from which English derives much of its syntactical foundation.

This information got me thinking. I wondered if perhaps the creator of the website would have any information about a possible corpus referencing Shakespeare...or anything really that would help in my research. Soooo I took a gamble and decided to e-mail the creator of Bardwed, J.M. Pressley, and bombard him with my various questions. I was hoping, but not really expecting to hear back from him.

After a few days....


I know I was shocked and surprised to see a reply to my e-mail sitting in my inbox.  I may or may not have squealed and jumped around happily for a few moments, feeling smart and important.

Sadly, though, he didn't have any link or reference to a corpus for Shakespeare. However, he did have interesting suggestions. This is what the e-mail stated:

Hi, Kaleigh,

I think I get what you're looking for, and that may be a tall order for one
source. Trying to diachronically sum up over 400 years of linguistic changes
is a challenge in itself, and estimating usage frequency and impact could be
highly subjective on top of that.

There are a number of valuable resources, however, that may provide at least
parts of what you're looking for:

* The Unabridged Oxford English Dictionary
* World Shakespeare Bibliography (James L. Harner, editor)
* Shakespeare Lexicon and Quotation Dictionary (Alexander Schmidt, 1902)
* The Harvard Concordance to Shakespeare (Marvin Spevack, 1973)
* The Language of Shakespeare (G. L. Brooks, 1976)

Cool! While I didn't find a corpus, I did find possible links to researching the grammar of Shakespeare thanks to Pressley! This man has certainly done his homework and his suggestions seem like exceptional ones. Right now I'm looking at the "Shakespeare Lexicon" by Schmidt and things are getting pretty interesting.

I think I'm going to write him back to get more information on his research and understand his method for creating Bardweb just a little better.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"O horrible, O horrible, most horrible!"-Hamlet Quote

I think the title says it all! I've been horrible this week in blogging! I shall not waste your time by making excuses as to why I've been out of the loop. Just rest assured that I'm back writing my posts! And......I have several blog posts in the works that should be up soon! Until then, here's a small update on the reading. I LOVE HAMLET! There I said it. Ha! Hamlet is by far one of my favorite plays. Yes it may sound a little cliché but I truly love the complexity of the story, the wit, the characters, all of it fascinates me!

So, here's a few of my favorite quotes from the play:

Alas! poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come; make her laugh at that.-Act V Scene I

The rest is silence.

-Act V Scene II