I've blogged previously about my map obsession, and about wanting to do something with poetry and spatial or geographic visualization. And since one of my plans for this summer is attending THATCamp 2009 (yay!), I've been thinking a lot about what kinds of projects these interests might lead to. What follows is some thinking-out-loud.
As I said in the previous post, I love applications that let you georeference various types of information, but I keep finding myself wishing for something that would indicate vaguer (or even imaginary) locations, such as one tends to find in poetry and fiction. And I'd like to be able to indicate motion from one place to another within a text—the westward movement in the last paragraph of Joyce's "The Dead," for instance, from the Dublin hotel where Gabriel watches the snow to the churchyard in Oughterard.
I've been thinking a lot about the connections between space and memory in Thomas Hardy's poems, about the way he repeatedly uses a single location to juxtapose a scene in the present with memory of what happened there in the past. (I'm thinking of any number of Hardy poems, but especially "The Walk," "At Castle Boterel," "A House with a History," "Paths of Former Time," "The Self-Unseeing," and "Sacred to the Memory.") I don't know how you'd visualize that, actually. I think you'd have to show movement in time as well as space. A lyric space-time continuum?
I also think it would be a nifty project to map the history of various poetic forms in both space and time: to show the emergence of the sonnet in Italy and its spread to England during the Renaissance, to explore the complicated multilingual history of the ghazal in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu. Among many others. Kind of like the Atlas of Early Printing.
And, as much for my own reference as anything else, here are a few of the links I've been bookmarking:
- A Place in History: A Guide to Using GIS in Historical Research, by Ian Gregory
- The Spatial History Project at Stanford University and its tools wiki for spatial humanities
- The New Geography, a roundtable from the April/May 2009 Bookforum
- Mapping the Digital Humanities, a HASTAC discussion (April 2009)
- "Literary Geospaces," a Chronicle of Higher Ed article by Jennifer Howard
(paywalled, sorry)(link fixed; thanks, Dave!)
- Gutenkarte geographic text browser (not a lot of texts yet, but an intriguing idea)