works forthcoming & in progress:
forthcoming chapter in book:
“3-D Interactive Multimodal Literacy in a College Writing Class” in Multimodal Literacies and Emerging Genres in Student Compositions. Edited by Carl Whithaus and Tracey Bowen. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh Press, 2011. MS. 49 pp. Revised and expanded version of "Teaching English in Second Life"
ALICE THE CONQUEROR: IMPERIALISM AND MUTINY IN THE ALICE BOOKS
Idealized Alice, the subject of popular culture, aspires to become a chess-board queen. However, there is also Imperial Alice who, reflecting the ideology and values of her family, class, and nation, acts like she is already Victoria, queen of the greatest empire the world has ever known. Imperial Alice needs to be the head of the family and dominate others, but her subjects mutiny, much as Empress Victoria’s Indian subjects did in 1857, and for the same reason: disregard of the natives’ attitude toward animals From the animals’ points of view, Alice is often cruel, indeed sadistic, and a murderer. She murders babies still in the womb (eggs), and eats them. When we focus on the family meal, especially the consumption of animal corpses after they have been tortured and murdered, we discover the ultimate family secret, carnism. Like us, the Victorians were not forced to kill and eat animals by Darwinian laws, but freely chose to do so, despite obvious alternatives. This choice was brought home to many Victorians when the Mutiny of 1857 drew their attention to a whole nation of herbivores, a nation much larger than Great Britain, guided by respect for animals beyond the comprehension of the leaders of the empire. If animals are members of the extended family, then the basic family secret and fundamental tenet of the ideology of empire is cannibalism The Alice books thus reveal what is not only the ultimate family secret, but the shameful source of the energies of our civilization as well.
Toward a More Social Theory of Literary Creativity: Hopkins and His Contemporaries argues for a more social, rhetorical model of mental life, emphasizing the role of contemporaries, especially groups in the creative process. An extensive theoretical and historical introduction is followed by examples of creative interactions and a conclusion. The introduction identifies the shift from individual to collaborative creativity seen today in intranets and the internet as a sign of the new paradigm of social online literacy threatening the old one of individualistic print literacy. The deep roots of the old model of creativity as the product of the individual, suffering male genius are explored. Yet collaboration is also demonstrated to be a mode of creativity available in print literacy, especially when we include symbiotic rivalry. The creativity of small groups, rather than individuals or social collectives is stressed. Groups such the Pre-Raphaelites (including Christina Rossetti, Swinburne, Hopkins, Pater), and the Geneva circle (Byron, Polidori, and the Shelleys) as seen as forerunners of the intranets of our day and as communities in the arts inviting comparison to those in science, especially in terms of their group dynamics and communication networks. The history of these groups advances our understanding of allusions among contemporaries, especially metalepsis, deep parody, and antiparody, and enables us to expand Harold Bloom’s theory of influence. For example, an artist’s choice of precursors is seen primarily as not an individual but a collaborative decision of one’s contemporaries. Ultimately, the book advances toward the model of social creativity in the new paradigm by demonstrating that the myth of creativity as the product of the suffering, individual male in isolation is not valid even where it most seems to be, in a poet such as Hopkins. Ultimately, the Conclusion argues that we may find that the terms “originality” and “creativity” are no longer appropriate descriptions of invention in the new sensibility: as we adopt more collaborative ideals new terms as well as new concepts may be required.
In addition, the sense of time in the new paradigm is addressed. The fixation with the present in the online literacy is contrasted with the obsession with the past in print literacy, especially in the humanities. The desire of artists such as those in the Pre-Raphelite circle to return to the origin is not only identified as a source of their creativity but is suggested as a counterpoise to the obsessions with progress and the present moment in online literacy. On the other hand, living in the now is seen as a necessary corrective to the tendency of advocates of print literacy to live in the past and suffer from the anxiety of influence identified by Bloom and others. In this way the need is established to revise the new temporal sensibility advanced by online literacy so that it is more equitably balanced in its orientations to past, present, and future.Finally, the Conclusion considers the movement from linear thought to intranet and internet hypermedia as a voyage into new territory, including a new rationality that transcends such simplistic dualisms as individual vs. group, forward vs. backward in time, competition vs. cooperation. 707 pages in Ms. Being revised.
The Family Dynamics of Literature is integration of my essays and reviews in this field. In a book length project I will also be able to present other examples of the template of a new literary criticism showing the relevance of the psychology of emotion and family systems to many of the other contemporary American novels I could only mention in my “Family Dynamics” article. In addition to demonstrating the value of family systems theory for understanding realistic family fiction of the last two hundred years, a book length project would enable me to explore how readers respond to such works. Family systems research suggests that a response to a work of art may be not only that of the “individual” but also that of family members the individual has internalized. Thus if reader-centered criticism is to focus, as Rogers suggested in Self and Other: Object Relations in Psychoanalysis and Literature, on “the elaborate matching” between the personal universes of the creator of the work of art and the one who apprehends it “cognitively and affectively, at both conscious and unconscious levels,” we need to remember that the matches are often between entire family systems, not just the isolated personalities of the creator and perceiver. Hence in a book-length project I want to develop a family systems alternative to Norman Holland’s personal identity, cognitive-matching experiments in Five Readers Reading, and to explore the interface between this new kind of reader-centered criticism and bibliotherapy.
A Multimedia Autobiography: This CD includes photographs, drawings, video and audio memories. In the adolescence module, the unique power of multimedia to recreate the feel of an era and to communicate emotion is tapped, addressing the right brain as well as the left brain. However, the most innovative aspect of the project is the first module. The goal is to attempt to communicate the first years of a child’s life through media other than words as much as possible, demonstrating that multimedia matches the early experience of life better than words possibly can. This first module also has a video help system.