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Formal ontologies in the Digital Humanities

June 27th, 2014 by Michael Winter

For an excellent–and remarkably clear–discussion of how formal hierarchical semantic modelling can be applied to the subject domain of philosophy, interested readers should take a look at a recent paper by Colin Allen and the InPho group at Indiana University: “Cross-Cutting Categorization Schemes in the Digital Humanities,” ISIS 104, 3 (September 2013): 573-583; DOI: 10.1086/673276. For a sense of what a sample end-product model might look like, see  especially Fig. 1 on p. 582, which presents a representational map that depicts the similarities and differences in how the German philosopher Immanuel Kant is treated in two different domain-specific encyclopedias.

New Book on Georges Canguilhem

June 24th, 2014 by Michael Winter

Nowdays Canguilhem is probably better known as Michel Foucault’s mentor, but in his day he was a major French philosopher and historian of science, as this collection of articles reveals. For the basic bibliographic description and more information about the library’s copy, check the Harvest library catalog record.  The cover art is a reproduction of a painting by Maurice Matieu that is based on some lines from Henri Michaux.

Richard N. Schwab Papers

June 22nd, 2014 by Michael Winter

Richard N. Schwab taught in the history department at UC, Davis. The two linear feet of papers he donated to the Shields Library Department of Special Collections relate specifically to his lifelong work on the French Encyclopedia of Diderot and D’Alembert–or, as it is more formally known, Encyclopedie, ou Dictionnaire raisonne des sciences, des arts et des metiers, which appeared in fascicles and then eventually as bound volumes between 1751 and 1765. Special Collections also owns an original 17 volume edition of this work, along with the numerous supplementary volumes of engraved illustrations/plates accompanying the text, as well as  other supplementary material issued along with the original text and plates.

Schwab’s contributions to the study of the Encyclopedie and indeed the study of the Enlightenment more generally are much too numerous to mention here, though it should be noted that he produced the English translation of the Preliminary discourse to the Encyclopedia contributed by D’Alembert.  A number of years ago Professor Schwab also began a fruitful collaboration with the University of Chicago and the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and participated in the eventual issue of a digital version of this landmark reference work.

Marx’s major Work in Slides

May 21st, 2014 by Michael Winter

For an innovative approach to the understanding of Marx’s Capital, UC Davis library users should take a look at PolyLuxMarx: A Capital Workbook in Slides,  a recent addition to the collection.  A subset of these slides and other material supporting an understanding of the work of Marx and Engels in the production of their masterwork, can also be viewed and downloaded, in English, German, and Spanish.

Intellectual Property Dispute Over the Marx and Engels Corpus

May 5th, 2014 by Michael Winter

According to a recent stories in Bloomberg News and the New York Times, one of the copyright holders of the standard English-language edition of the collected works of Marx and Engels (the U.K. based publisher Lawrence & Wishart) has issued a takedown order to the Marxists Internet Archive; and according to a notice on its site, the Archive has complied by removing any materials published Lawrence & Wishart.

Report from Shields Library Stacks: Notes from the Field

December 13th, 2013 by Michael Winter

One of the pleasures of a large research library is the discovery of riches tucked away in places not often browsed.  Such an example is afforded by La Nouvelle Revue Française, aka NRF.  And this particular title does not seem to have been converted to digital format, so it is a great boon to have a complete run, dating back to the founding year of 1909, and continuing to the present.  The back issues are shelved on the Lower Level of Shields, at AP20 .N6.  A check of the earlier issues reveals a fertile cache of  extraordinary materials sure to be of interest as primary sources in the study of French literature, culture, and society.  Early associates included André Gide,  Gaston Gallimard, and an amazing variety of names now enshrined as part of the canon of 20th century French literature.

The editors had actually assembled an issue the year before,  in 1908, but got to quarreling and were unable to come to agreement, and so they had to wait a year to get started.  When they did, the first issue included contributions by Paul Claudel, Jean Giraudoux, Francis Jammes, and Emile Verhaeren. Not at all outdone, Gide himself contributed the first appearance of his novel, La Porte Etroite,  as a series of  installments. By volume 2 others had joined, including Jules Romains and Paul Valery.  Alain-Fournier shows up as a book reviewer before eventually publishing a serial version of Les Grandes Meaulnes, in 1912.  In 1911,  Gide contributed more  novels seriatim, including Les Caves du Vatican, in 1911, and his early masterpiece La Symphonie Pastorale, in 1919. By that time Gaston Gallimard had gone on to found the publishing house that still bears his name, originally as an off-shoot of the NRF.

Translation studies scholars and comparativists will want to know that Gide also published an early translation of the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, in 1911.  Later, after the publication had been suspended for the four years of the First World War,  his translation of William Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell appeared in 1922.  Valéry Larbaud published here his translations of excerpts from Samuel Butler’s novel Erewhon in 1920.

There is also a serialized version of one of Paul Claudel’s most famous novels, L’Annonce Faite à Marie, appearing in several 1912 numbers. But probably the greatest find of all is in the volumes appearing in 1914, when the  published fragments of a work by a then relatively unknown writer named Marcel Proust, who was toiling away at A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, and contributed some fragments from what would become the second volume,  La Côté de Guermantes. It’s interesting to learn that Proust’s masterpiece was initially rejected by a number of publishers’ readers, including Gide himself, and had to be published–supposedly at the author’s own expense–by Bernard Grasset.   But it didn’t take long for these initial negative assessments to change.  By the early 1920s,  after Proust meets an untimely death in November of 1922, much space is devoted to extensive analyses of  Proust’s life and work. Other writers who contributed fragments or excerpts of works-in-progress or shorter pieces include Colette, Louis Aragon, Guillaume Apollinaire,  Arthur Rimbaud (who also appears as Jean-Arthur Rimbaud), the anthropologist Lucien Lévy-Bruhl on primitive mentality, and Gertrud Stein contributed  parts of a memoir of Paris in the 1920s.  Antonin Artaud’s debut is a series of letters between him and the NRF editor who rejected his early submissions; later he became something of a regular feature.

Along with Alain-Fournier, a number of other writers make a debut here as reviewers of books, theatrical productions, and even films, including André Breton,  who reviewed Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror,  Aragon,  who reviewed, among other things, an edition of Les Contes de Perrault,  Antonin Artaud, Julien Benda,  and the early exponent of French existentialism with a Christian accent, the philosopher Gabriel Marcel.  Stephane Mallarmé reviewed musical performances. Many of these also contributed shorter versions of original works.  Along with Marcel, the philosopher Alain also contributed many pieces in the 1920s and the 1930s.

Perhaps the greatest curiosity is a brief item, with the appearance of an announcement or a very simple advertisement,  in 1919, heralding the beginning of “Le Mouvement Dada”; the announcement calls the attention of NRF readers to “Le Directeur,” Tristan Tzara, and even provides what looks like a mock-telephone number (1-2-3-4-5) and an address where he might be reached in Switzerland for inquiries.

Note:  For a notification and brief entry on NRF‘s predecessor, see the blog entry for La Revue Blanche.

 

Gallica: Bibliothèque Numérique

December 12th, 2013 by Michael Winter

Formerly Gallica Classique. One of the world’s most advanced digital library collections, Gallica provides online access to millions of books, periodicals, images, videos, maps, sound files, manuscripts, and scores. Searchable in basic or advanced modes, and browsable by publication type. Originally an attempt to provide coverage of the  Bibliothèque Nationale‘s vast holdings in French literature from the Middle Ages to the present, it now has digital access partnerships with a number of other major library collections substantially increasing its offerings. Includes links to other relevant sites.

National Library of the Netherlands/Koniklijke Bibliotheek

December 11th, 2013 by Michael Winter

The website of the National Library of the Netherlands offers an amazing array of content from and about the Netherlands, the Low Countries, Europe, and the world at large. Website available in both English and Dutch.

Mapping the Republic of Letters

April 29th, 2013 by Michael Winter

A collaborative, interdisciplinary, and international project in the digital humanities, Mapping the Republic of Letters, centered at Stanford University, presents visualizations that analyze “big data” relating to the world of early-modern scholars, with a focus primarily on their correspondence, travel, and social networks. The project makes use of quantitative metrics while retaining a committment to the qualitative methods of the humanities.

Professor Robert Darnton to present Eugene Lunn Memorial Lecture

April 4th, 2012 by David Michalski

-from–
Michael Saler
History Department

The 2012 Eugene Lunn Memorial Lecture will be given by Professor Robert Darnton on Wednesday, May 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Alpha Gamma Rho Hall, Buehler Alumni Center. (Reception to follow.) He will speak on “Books, Digits, and Dollars: A Design for the Future.” The lecture is free and open to the public.

Robert Darnton is the Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library. A winner of the MacArthur Prize and numerous other awards, he has written notable works, including: The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future ; The Great Cat-Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History ; The Literary Underground of the Old Regime ; Poetry and Police: Communications Networks in Eighteenth Century Paris ; The Business of Enlightenment .

Eugene Lunn was, prior to his untimely death in 1990, a member of the Davis Department of History. In his twenty years here, he distinguished himself as a scholar in the field of modern European intellectual history. He was a passionate and productive scholar, but no less an engaged and inspired teacher. In his memory, a fund was assembled to support an annual memorial lecture. Its purpose is to honor the profession of teaching and to present to a broad and varied campus audience an exemplary discussion of issues of high significance in contemporary intellectual life.

This is the twentieth Lunn lecture, following upon those of such well-known scholars as Carl Schorske, Hayden White, Martin Jay, Saul Friedlander, Laura Engelstein, Lawrence Levine, Lynn Hunt, Thomas Bender, Bonnie Smith, Wendy Doniger, Cemal Kafadar, William Cronon, Fred Wakeman, Jan Goldstein, Suzanne Marchand, Louis Menand, Thomas Laqueur, and Mark Mazower.

The lecture, thanks to the generosity of many people, has become an important annual event at Davis. We want to take this opportunity once again to thank all of you who have previously supported this undertaking. We are currently facing a severe funding shortage, however, so if you find it possible to make a new (or renewed) contribution to the lecture fund, however small, we will be very grateful indeed. You may write a check to the “UC Regents (Lunn Memorial Fund)” and send it to Monica Fischer in the Department of History.