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Bibliography by Britta Gustafson

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 9 months ago

Annotated Bibliography Assignment


By Britta Gustafson, Emigrants Project Team


1. Udell, Jon. "Screencasting Strategies." Prime-Time Hypermedia. 13 June 2005. O'Reilly Network. 18 Feb. 2008 <http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/network/2005/06/13/primetime.html>.


In this article, Jon Udell explains the way he makes good screencasts, not from the level of software or features but how he sets up a screencast and conveys meaning through careful editing and planning. It’s about how to film instead of how to use the camera, in order to make it useful independent of the type of screencasting software the reader uses. This is also useful to a reader several years after the article was published because software has changed but the genre of screencasting is not much different.


Udell recommends using Camtasia for Windows and mentions other ways to record screencasts, and then describes various aspects of recording screencasts. In “Prepare the Stage”, he says to constrain the screencast window to 800 by 600 to help it fit comfortably inside the viewer’s browser and to minimize download time. This is part of a general principle to be conscious of how the screencast will be presented inside the viewer’s browser. Inside the screencast, parts of the screen that aren’t helpful to the demonstration should be hidden so they don’t take up extra space or distract the viewer. The next part, “Tell the Story in Scenes”, continues the comparison of screencasting to other video genres and recommends capturing short scenes instead of long chunks of motion, to help with planning and editing. “Eliminate Wasted Motion” explains why and how to remove parts of the screencast that aren’t useful, just like the recommendation to hide unnecessary parts of the window. The last technical section, “Narrating the Action,” covers the audio part of the screencast, explaining how to figure out the pacing of the visual and audio aspects. His final advice is to carefully watch the finished screencast for continuity and other errors.


2. McCulloh, Mark R. "Blending Fact, Fiction, Allusion, and Recall: Sebald's 'Literary Monism.'" Understanding W. G. Sebald. University of South Carolina Press, 2003. 1-25.


This chapter explores and establishes the genre and themes of Sebald's work, drawing on all four of his books. McCulloh begins with the Emigrants narrator’s concerns about Germans forgetting their history – a definitive example of how Sebald “recalls the past, recovers the past, and seeks to depict how the present fades imperceptibly into the past” (2). This introductory section also notes Sebald’s blend of autobiography and fiction and explains how his “autumnal” voice may be partly due to his older age when he began to write poetry and fiction.


The first section is “The Uncanniness of Everything,” which explains Sebald’s affinities for everyday strangeness and Freudian free association. The next one is “The Narrator as Peregrinator,” which discusses Sebald’s theme of travel: his books are concerned with the relationships between movement and mourning, forgetting, remembering. This part also discusses the narrator's physical journey as especially significant and metaphorical: travel as living, as writing, as plot device, as forward motion through time, as a type of movement engaging with the past, and as encountering the uncanny (sometimes the doppelgänger). Then, in “The Heightened ‘Reality’ of Fictional Reconstruction,” McCulloh tackles Sebald’s use of photographs as part of his careful verisimilitude in his fiction, “provoking involuntarily questions about the significance and meaning of the past” (8). He also notes that these pictures do not have captions, and the relationship between the pictures and the text is left ambiguous and sometimes humorous (a theme picked up in “Grim Humor” too). The section “Work in Progress” covers Sebald’s narrators’ self-referentiality as they live, write, and come to terms with their stories. Last, “Staid Hyperbole” and “Ambient Oneness” attempt to analyze his narrative voice, and “The Final Word is Never Final” acknowledges criticisms of Sebald’s indirectness and mysteriousness.



3. McCulloh, Mark R. "The Emigrants: In Seach of the Vividly Present Dead." Understanding W. G. Sebald. University of South Carolina Press, 2003. 26-56.


In this second chapter, McCulloh goes into detail about Sebald’s first book translated into English, describing it as a book about reconstructing memories of lives rather than about victims of the Holocaust. Throughout the essay, he clarifies pieces of information that Sebald has left implicit, and the first important one is that the title of the book is ironic: the characters “were all in some way forcibly exiled” (27).


In “The First Coincidental Encounter”, McCulloh describes the story of Dr. Selwyn, in which “the house and its inhabitants exude eccentricity” (28). He begins to trace the influence of Nabokov through the four chapters, one of their many instances of intratextuality, and brings up research into one of Sebald’s other seemingly offhand mentions: a scene in The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser. He also notes how Selwyn’s testing of his gun strongly foreshadows the man’s suicide, and makes explicit how Selwyn hid his Jewish identity for a long time from his wife and many other people. He interprets the re-emergence of Naegeli’s actual body as “highlighting the uncanny ability of memory to alter and even expunge the past.” Then McCulloh describes “The Teacher,” Paul Bereyter, explaining that he is a fictionalized version of a real teacher that Sebald had and connecting his story to The Rings of Saturn, Sebald’s second book translated into English. As in the first chapter, McCulloh draws out the ramifications of being Jewish for this character, including that the briefly-mentioned restrictions on his job ended his relationship with his girlfriend. Concerning “The Great-Uncle,” McCulloh notes that the tone of the book and its photographs shifts toward a more eclectic style as the characters’ and narrator’s travels range more widely. He says that “Samaria Sanatorium is another of those places that seems to be a character in the story as much as a setting” (40), which is picked up in more detail by Michael Niehaus in a different book. Finally, McCulloh discusses “The Artist in Exile”, including the differences in this chapter between the German original and the English translation. He also says that the lack of quotation marks even during conversations is “not unusual in modern German fiction but somewhat less common in English-language literature” (43). The essay continues to discuss themes of beauty and decay in that chapter and the rest of the book, and ends with a summary of how the book was received in the United States and Germany.


4. Niehaus, Michael. "No Foothold: Institutions and Buildings in W. G. Sebald's Prose." W. G. Sebald: History, Memory, Trauma. Ed. Scott Denham and Mark McCulloh. Walter de Gruyter, 2006. 315-333.


This essay looks at the relationships between Sebald’s characters and the various institutions they encounter, arguing that the characters are never truly part of any of those institutions, instead only passing through them. Niehaus begins with a theoretical definition of institutions as formalized, simplified social practices – and of the buildings that those institutions inhabit and are represented by.


He gives several examples of characters which are defined by their existence outside of institutions: Paul Bereyter taking his class outside whenever possible, messy professors in The Rings of Saturn and Austerlitz, and Ambrose Adelwarth as an outsider everywhere including the mental institution where he places himself voluntarily. Even homes and personal spaces, usually institutions of belonging, are uncomfortable in Sebald’s work (such as Max Ferber’s nearly-empty studio) because “the characters have not established their inner selves, their living quarters or their habits. They lack the support structure of institutionalized ways to behave” (319). Niehaus relates this to the communication styles in Sebald’s texts: very little or no dialogue, only narrative and nested monologues.


Then, Niehaus delves into a more theoretical background for his exploration of Sebald’s emigrants: Marc Augé’s concepts of anthropological places (such as homes) and non-places (such as hotels and waiting rooms): “non-places assign no places to the subjects…The characters in Sebald’s narratives cross non-places and transform the places they cross into non-places” (327). The example for this is scene in a train station in Austerlitz.


5. Moretti, Franco. "Maps." Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History. Verso, 2007. 35-64.


This chapter hypothesizes about what creating maps can add to the study of literature through a few examples. The first main example is a set of diagrams of a chronological series of books that begin as focused on one place and slowly spread outward over time. The diagrams make that spatial arrangement explicit, which helps the reader see what is happening in the books as characters move around and places get described. Moretti’s next examples also focus on books about villages that change over time, diagramming mentions of places, things, and institutions. These are good examples of geographic modeling as a helpful kind of simplification of literature: “with a little luck, these maps will be more than the sum of their parts: they will possess ‘emerging’ qualities, which were not visible at the lower level” (53). The following example locates items on a geographical map and notes that there are patterns, but drawing conclusions from that arrangement about the forces acting on it is a whole different matter. Analysis is possible, and it is aided by the development of those maps, but the maps themselves do not explain their results.



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