Based on our visit to Stanford Special Collections on April 6, you should have a single image to work on this annotation. It's possible to work on 2 pages for this annotation lab report, but no more than those 2 pages. As mentioned in the instructions, you will be allowed to take cell phone photos of the Special Collections materials for use in this assignment only (no posting to social media, please).
Textual annotations have a long history in literary studies. They are in essence commentary on a text, sometimes offered as marginalia alongside the main text, other times as footnotes, and yet other times as entirely separate documents.
Annotations can serve many functions, depending upon their context. They can be exegetical, drawing out meanings and interpretations from a passage or even an individual word. They can be focused on a book’s history, noting variations that occur in different editions. They can be generated from a reader’s own idiosyncratic response to a text—for example, quotations and passages from the text the reader wishes to collect and remember, and put in dialogue with one another.
Your annotations should not be guided by an overarching argument. Rather, annotate the page in a kind of free association way, commenting upon words, passages, and patterns in any way you are compelled to do so. Research unfamiliar names, places, or phrases (in any language!) that appear in the text and annotate these as well. (Google N-Grams and the Oxford English Dictionary Database are your very good friends with this project!) Look up odd advertisements or publishers and authors with whom you are not familiar. (The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is a terrific SJSU database for this!) Look up any unfamiliar artists or artwork, too. (Yep, the Oxford Art Online database here at SJSU is also great for this - find links to all of these databases at the King Library LibGuide.)
Your work for the assignment will consist of:
- a photo of one page from one of the texts at the Special Collections visit (see list), with the bulk of your annotations directly on the page (either handwritten or electronically written).
- a typed collection of your annotations, plus any further commentary that would not fit on the page, or which didn’t occur to you during the initial process of annotation.
- a 600-900 word reflection about the annotations. In your reflection, include the following information; the final query is the most important in this reflection.
- What did such intense scrutiny of a page reveal?
- Was there a pattern to what you annotated?
- How does the material you annotated contribute to or complicate Patten's marriage between ideology (e.g., social control of readers) and aesthetics (or materiality of the text, as we've been discussing) (363-65)? (article, "When is a Book Not a Book?," Robert Patten). This part of the reflection builds on the work you did with the post, Great Expectations & Ideology/Aesthetics.
- If you annotated digitally, either embed your annotated page(s) into your lab report or attach it to the assignment. (Be sure to put the writing of your lab report in the text box.) If you printed out your page and hand wrote annotations, take a photo of your annotated page(s) and either embed it in or attach it to your lab report.
- At the top of the page, type the title Annotations and begin with an MLA style works cited entry for your text. Then, type your annotations into the text box.
- Skip a line and type the title Reflection and type your 600-900 word reflection. Formal tone is required here; avoid using first person. (Refresh your memory of our writing tips.)
Grading for Annotation
This investigation is due on April 12 by 5pm. The essay will be graded (with a letter grade) based on the written expression of the mission. Effective, grammatically-correct, and thoughtful writing will determine the grade. If any of the elements are missing (especially that final query about aesthetics and ideology), your submission will not receive any points.
[A portion of the assignment relies on Mark Sample’s “Investigation” assignment]