My experience as an intern during the Conference ‘Cultural Encounters through Reading and Writing: New Approaches to the History of Literary Culture’ has left me with so much: many, many new discoveries about 19th-c women authors and their legacy, a warm feeling of gratitude and enthusiasm for all the encounters I have made, a very long reading list, and quite a lot of footage taken during the days of the Conference. In my last blog, I had mentioned how difficult it can be to retrieve data about women authors who lived and worked more than a century ago: today, on the other hand, we can easily almost be overwhelmed by data. During the Conference we filmed, we tweeted, we exchanged contacts and we took photographs (and some of them we shared here https://www.instagram.com/travellingtexts/)…The network of connections and encounters that has originated and that was further developed by the Conference is something at once very concrete and virtual. There has been a lot of discussion about the Digital Humanities in the Conference, and about the great potential of this expanding field in the research carried on by Travelling Texts. I was very interested in finding out about some of the work that is going on to create web databases and archives, which allow for wider access and greater visibility of data. I have also really liked to see how the Digital Humanities can open up the way for further connectedness and collaborations – for instance, for fruitful encounters between Literature and Computer Science. As I thought about this, I was inspired to turn some of the moments I have filmed at the Conference into something that could be easily shared with all those who were part of it. As Miriam said in her last blog post: everybody loves a souvenir – and I hope you will enjoy this ‘digital’ one: https://youtu.be/wwDA_g_YhWI
1. You never stop learning
I knew very little about women writers in the 19th century before I started the internship. Of course, I had done some research for the interview, but it focused on the project in general. Once we had selected the women writers we wanted to present in a display accompanying the conference, I realised that I had never heard of the women writers from my homeland nor those from my host country. But after compiling biographies and printing out portraits, I think I now know a little about these women’s lives and works, and I hope this will give me the crucial advantage over other competitors in a pub quiz one day.
2. Limit yourself …
When we started this internship, the first few stages evolved Continue reading
Embarrassing though it may be to admit, when I started this internship, I had never heard of any of the women writers mentioned in the conference programme. I knew neither their names nor their achievements in the literary world or political arena. My starting point was to search in the university library’s search function to see whether I could find any information about the authors who were the subjects of the conference. There was little information available in the women writers’ native languages and the amount of material in English was also scant. However, one name wielded several results and so I headed for the Scandinavian section of the library where Continue reading
Only a few weeks have passed since I have started working as an intern for the international conference “Cultural Encounters through Reading and Writing: New Approaches to the History of Literary Culture”, which will mark the conclusion of the Travelling Texts project. However, these few weeks have been filled with many discoveries: I have found out about the lives of various women authors who wrote between 1790 and 1914; I have explored the wonderful and welcoming space that is the Glasgow Women’s Library, where Continue reading
Upon embarking as an intern for the international conference, “Cultural Encounters through Reading and Writing: New Approaches to the History of Literary Culture”, due to take place at the Glasgow Women’s Library (9th-11th June), I was interested to see which writers the conference papers would discuss, and naturally, given that I currently study Spanish at the University of Glasgow, my eye was drawn to the Hispanic writers. Despite being in the middle of exams and stuck in the library for hours on end, I researched the conference and began my internship. A closer look at the programme revealed a familiar name from an honours module and a particular favourite author of mine, Emilia Pardo Bazán.
Emilia Pardo Bazán’s house in A Coruña, Spain
The conference paper was entitled ‘The ones that got away: the unfulfilled promises of Pardo Bazán’s Biblioteca de la mujer’. As previously mentioned, I had studied Emilia Pardo Bazán but Continue reading
What did the users of the reading societies for women read? Or more precisely, how many and which foreign women did they read? In order to give a reliable answer to the question, there is no Continue reading
In my concluding blog I want to focus on the norms that women had to adhere to in the nineteenth century, the norms that determined their lives and behaviors – in other words, what a woman needed to be. Arguably, those women who decided to become writers had already diverged from these norms, up to a certain point. However, Alcott went beyond that: she inspired a new Continue reading
In the last blog, I made use of several methods[i] from the discipline of literary studies to make sense of Louisa Alcott’s “journey”. In this blog, I want to cross disciplines and take a linguistic approach, working with several digital tools on the translations. Given that Huygens ING is a Digital Humanities (DH) institute and that the Travelling TexTs project is a DH project, with colleagues working in a Virtual Research Environment, it was quite obvious that I, too, would need to try using some DH tools. These tools connect with linguistics, approaching the textual material in different ways. Here I will present the results of my work with two different types of digital tools: stylometrics and ‘Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count’ (‘LIWC’ for short).
As far as stylometrics is concerned, I was motivated Continue reading
It seems fitting to start my research journey with another journey: the one of Louisa May Alcott’s works to the Netherlands. In the context of the Travelling TexTs project I will look how some of these texts travelled from the USA to the Netherlands, on a transnational level so to say. These are just the beginnings of an exploration, and there is still a lot of ground to cover when it comes to this research. Within the novels texts travel, too: In Little Women (1868) the girls read John Bunyan’s 17th-century religious allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress, a text that found its way to the Western world and Africa and was both shaped by the countries (their norms and tastes) as well as shaping in turn the identity of different countries, as Isabel Hofmeyer recently demonstrated in The Portable Bunyan: A Transnational History of “The Pilgrim’s Progress” (2003). Now I want to show, similarly, how Alcott’s novels functioned transnationally, especially with regard to ideas about the role of women and education for girls. I will do so first on a translational level, after which I sketch the contemporaneous context by referring to different review articles on Alcott. I will look at the differences between original and translation of the text, and place these next to what stands out in the reviews. These rather intuitive findings will be taken along for further research on a linguistic and computational level in my next blog, thus creating a dialogue between the findings.
To the Netherlands: Translations
The first thing that stands out when we look at Alcott’s translations is the change of the Continue reading
Louisa May Alcott is one of the many women writing in the long nineteenth century. She has a wide array of novels and short stories and is most popular for her series on the March family; you may have read Little Women. Still today many of her works can be found re-published and translated. And as the Women Writers database illustrates she was a well-read author in her time[i]. Then why is she, like many other women writers of the nineteenth century, not included at length in literary histories[ii] or in educational curriculum nowadays? I remember reading multiple male writers from that period during high school (Charles Dickens, Henry Thoreau, Herman Melville, Frederik van Eeden, Piet Paaltjes and Multatuli to name a few I was privileged enough to read) however no female writers