Some conclusions and some openings

I wanted to write a last post about some ideas I had and things that happened to me during the course. I wanted to share them with you and I thought that this was the best place to do that.

I enrolled in this course because of the reasons we were and are studying, especially in this last section. I was curious about DH because I like to build and transform things inside the field of literary studies. And I liked the fact that I can do something else in academia more than just writing papers, and I can share my writings with people I knew and unknowns, that they can help me writing and exposing ideas, that I can be creative with the way I presented my ideas, not just written ideas (without having to be a designer), and being in touch with a lot of things that are happening right NOW in many disciplines, especially literature.

I never liked the way I studied at the academia, at least in Latin American literature (I do not think English is very different). It was too closed to things that were happening (especially in literature!), I thought that having a publishing house, a literary magazine, even a bookstore was a better idea – but I do not have a commercial spirit and I would have sunk. I have always been tempted to drop my classes: it is a debate I had to myself since an undergrad. But here I am, pursuing a PhD degree! I do not think I would have done the same If I had stayed in Argentina, because one of the things that seduced me the most to go on my studies here was my curiosity about American academy, what was trendy, and the possibility of dialoguing with current theories and critics. I thought it would be a great opportunity to listen to different ideas, and study how they circulate in the powerful countries, and the place that Latin America had there.

When I began studying here, I realized that it wasn’t that different and that professors still were reading Derrida, Foucault, Barthes, (Rancière as a relatively new member of the circle) which I find all very interesting but I am really tired of listening always to the same approach to literature. I was disappointed. More years of studying the same, saying the same, producing the same! (The biggest difference between American universities and ours is that you have to produce A LOT! With no real time to produce a real idea). I always liked to intervene instead of just producing for a certificate, a title, etc., I liked to think about my work as a work of intervention, of transformation of a certain field. That is why I began studying for being an editor, and also began translating literature from Portuguese into Spanish, and that’s why I found Internet as a great medium to publish.

So I decided to develop a site and thought of it as a digital project as part of my academic work (actually, I just wanted an “excuse” for doing my web page and whenever someone asked me “But really, why do you do this?” I could answer “Oh, it is just part of my research for the university” not having thus to justify I was doing something because I felt I had to, with any visible gain). And it was then when I finally discovered something interesting for me in academia: Digital Humanities. It was a different way to approach reading, writing, authorship, literary criticism, publishing. The digital texts denaturalized our conceptions of book and scholarship, and our whole written culture. New theories have been and are written now, new discussions not only about new materiality and a new culture, but also about pre-digital written culture.

When I went with this these ideas to my Spanish and Portuguese department, I thought the reaction would be worst. But many of my department’s professors showed interest in DH. Even though it was very common that some professors found my project very shallow, nothing to do with academy, and dismissed it.

When I presented my web page at a Graduate Student Conference, the discussant, from History department, with a very disdainful expression asked me: “How can you be talking about internet when some parts of Brazil do not even have electricity, when poor areas like favelas do not have internet?” He totally loosed the point. He said he did not like to spend hours online and that the digital was not a revolution at all. So I answered him with a question: “Do you know how much does it cost a book in Brazil? Much more than hours in an Internet café for those who do not have access at home. Nowadays, it is easier for a poor person to have access to internet in Brazil than buying a book, an object that was and still is made for the elite. Almost nobody reads literature in Brazil because literature is not where people are.”  It is a lot of ignorance and arrogance! This kind of professors is very common in Spanish and Portuguese departments, sadly. They long for those days when books were only made with paper. But digital publishing is not a threat because it changes the smell of literature. The problem is that it threatens a whole idea of knowledge and power. All topics that Fitzpatrick very intelligently approached in her Planned Obsolescence, a programmatic essay, a real call to action sometimes!

Books were a sign of power. A privilege in the pre digital written culture, especially in countries like mine, where it is difficult to get books from the rest of the world. It was very common to listen to (and to believe) professors that were the only ones that had access to texts. But not anymore. I can check what the professor is saying, I can read what the world is reading, and I can participate in all kind of debates. And that is the threat. They do not have the library for themselves. And I like the way digital is disorganizing knowledge and power in academia. Last week, I attended a conference of one of the most important intellectuals in Latin America. He told us that Humanities were in crisis, that nobody was interested in it anymore. The legacy he gave to future scholars was just a debris, and that kind of speech (very common, indeed and very depowering) is limiting and useless: it is as if we have nothing to debate, therefore, those professors pitied us. When I talked to him about Digital Humanities, he did not even know what I was talking about. He looked interested (for some seconds or so) but he did not know what to answer. I liked that. I like when a professor remains in silence. It is a little kind of revenge.

Among some voices that still fight against digital (or at least feel bewildered about digital scholarship, or digital authorship, those “new modes of authorship” that Fitzpatrick mentions) and others that find it interesting and new, I decided last week, backed by my thesis director, to present a digital based project for my PhD dissertation. Digital projects are a different kind of scholar genre; no, they are more than that, they are cultural objects. They are like books that do not follow any MLA guide (great!). And any reviewer or professors of the thesis committee should be clever (maybe sensitive?) enough to read it.

So, I am really happy I was encouraged by the readings we had in this course during the semester and the classes and the exercises to begin developing my own ideas and my place in academia. I didn’t think my thesis director was going to let me present a “digital thesis”, but she was glad I was going to begin something so different in the Spanish and Portuguese department, and not only at the UMD, but also in Latin America. As there are not digital-based thesis, at least in Argentina, and DH is a field almost unknown and underdeveloped in academia, although there are people working in similar things.

I am really thankful for having been pushed to be in touch with other DHers, because I found many people in Brazil and Argentina that are working in the DH field. And now I have a place and a group of people with whom I am going to collaborate from now on.

I also found a group called GO::DH,  with people from all over the world that do an incredible work spreading DH around the world,  I am amazed at all they do. I am participating translating into Spanish!

So thanks to this class, I can finally be glad of being part of the academia, but more than that, I can change it.

My digital project will improve the page I created in many different ways, and I will use some of the tools we experimented in the course (of course, Twine!!!). I will be in Brazil, in a city there is nothing or near to nothing to do (you can imagine that: I found a blog which name is “How not to die of boredom in Brasilia”), and I hope I can be still in touch with you.

What I like about DH is that our questions and ideas are never in the hands of a few but are discussed among many people, that can be from different countries and speak different languages, as you and me.

Hypertexts and rhythm

When I was reading the “electronic” stories I was wondering which were the genres of this literature, the predilections. I was feeling too much uncertainty… I think that the fact that they are so related to games make this literature so adventurous, but also the fact that they are not in codex format, that it is impossible for the reader to skim the text, or to know how much text follows, makes it suitable for these kinds of sensations: blindness, lost of memory, etc. There are different ways of reading this electronic literature. I think that someone accostumed to games is going to be more expert in moving ahead through the story, meanwhile in hypertexts it is more obvious how to “unfold” the story.

I found December 11, 2012 very interesting in the use of hypertext and how hypertext brings more texts and redesign the blank “page”. I liked how the parts of the story, as chapters, are accumulated in the page, how the text grows. The story itself is sad, and the end, with the picture of the cat, was very sensationalist. I did not like that. The tone is very naïve, and the story was rather simple. But it drew my attention because of the use of the accumulation of texts and its titles as “headers”. I liked that effect, but I know it depends a lot on the reader (I think Courtney thought the opposite). I also liked the background color and the typography, I find it very difficult to read when the background is black (and when typography is small!).

I found it interesting and gripping when I do not have to read a lot of text and that the text changes the page somehow. I found it awesome to see how the text was appearing and accumulating, organizing and disorganizing the events.  The story was finally created through all these pieces that were below. It is like cutting a text and copying it in other places. Fragments of story that peel off and accumulate. I liked the way those titles organize the page, as poems, as headlines, as something not to be forgotten. As a to-do list, as any list about a life, as recollections of the past. I found it just brilliant. I think that it is possible to create other texts using this technique. For example, it is possible to create simultaneous stories using the hipertexts. It’s in the accumulation of different parts, in the opening of new text, new words, new dispositions for the written, that the author creates the story. Regardless the story itself, I considered the display very interesting to experimentation.

Another example of the use of hypertext in Twine that I really liked (in this case, I liked the story as well) was the story with the suggestive title “All I want is for all my friends to become insanely powerful”. I liked it when I clicked in some words and they changed into other words and in that changing they tell a story. It has a very peculiar and interesting inner rhythm. These texts (electronic literature as far as I red, and these two texts in particular) have a particular breath given by the speed of the reader and its mouse, but also by its colors, pictures or music.

I simply loved this exercise. I can’t wait to create something in this incredible program!

My (books for) America

This is Books for America.

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Did you know this bookstore? Do you live in Washington, DC or in the “area” and do you love books? Come in. You should know this place.

I spent hours and hours here at this little used books store, any day of the week, any season (I came here even during snowstorms). I always think that I will find that book that was waiting for me… and I leave the store with three, four or seven books each time.

To me, this is one of the most interesting spots I know in DC. It is where I feel really happy in this foreign city. I arrived in town around four years ago. Now, I’m leaving. Coming back to SouthAmerica. I am one more of the visitors in this city of people in transit, students, politicians, diplomats. People I have never met but that I constantly see in the street –I always wonder who are the Washingtonians, what they do, how they live.

For many people, Washington is a dull city, a town with gigantic monuments, public buildings, embassies. But despite the monumentality of its buildings and its symbolic weight for Americans, its true attractions are small: Washington is a city of details (for who is interested in a city rather than a mall).

When I arrived I found a very short city and sky everywhere. I felt that Washington was not a welcoming city, with its avenues like horizons. I felt that it was a city still to be constructed, with its sad frontiers melting with the suburbs and the country. What I realized time after that it was that Washington is not a city to be constructed, but a city to be unfolded. You get to know it little by little. One friend of mine that had lived here told my husband and me when we arrived: “What I miss the most from Washington is ‘Books for America’”. So there we went to see. And it was a wonderful surprise to find an old books store with such a good energy, with a first classselection of books, and so cheap! It had so many titles, so interesting… As Borges said, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” We felt impressed by this little bookstore.

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To tell you more about the place, Books for America is not just a used book store but a non profit organization that aims to improve libraries in schools, shelters and prisons, support reading and education programs and provide children with first take-home books. It was created in October 2005 to “have a positive effect on literacy and educational in the Washington area”, as they state in their webpage, where they also say: “Beyond literacy, we seek to place books in the hands of anyone who wants to read and learn.  Books can be tools that help individuals rise up out of unfortunate circumstances” and “since our entire mission is to get books into people’s hands, you get fantastic books at ridiculously low prices!”

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Josh is now a librarian at University of Maryland!

They ask for books, CDs, DVDs and other items, many of them they sell it at the bookstore and others they give them to needy institutions. They select the books people donate: all of the books on sale are books in very good/excellent conditions; most of them are almost new. The money they make with the sell of books they use it to expand their supportive educational programs. All the staff is volunteer. I am so happy to have met Josh and Kate, very interesting and always good-humored people. I learned about America through this non-profit organization: how a community can organize itself to help others.

I also created an American literature section in my bookcase, but also I bought books about design, architecture and new media. And also, I learned about Washingtonians themselves. Studying the bookstore catalogue is possible to read Washingtonians through what they read. I found a highly educated and diverse community, interested in art, philosophy, history, and politics, (of course!) but also, and especially, in literature. It is noticeable as well the fast this community changes, with people coming and going back home, packing and unpacking libraries, donating their books and buying others. (I myself donated many Portuguese and Spanish language books!)

Now I am leaving DC. I have already packed my library (once again) and my entire house is now in a container heading South America carrying boxes and boxes full of the books I bought here (In total we bought around 400 books) and I will read for the next years far away from this beautiful city.


Washington has a lot of hidden places. You have to be especially alert in DC to really get to know this city. Walk all its streets; step in every restaurant, every café, every bookstore (it is not overwhelming… they are not a lot!) You have to walk the city, find an interesting book in Politics and Prose or come to Books for America when in Dupont Circle. But also go out in the hottest days in summer, go to Dolcezza for an ice cream (they are Argentinians!) walk on the fallen leaves during October in the narrow streets that lead you to the Philips Collection, see snowing through the window of a café in Upper Georgetown. They are not big places; none of them are monumental. They are just special. This week, go to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossom, but look for some small charm in DC, some small place for happiness, as this bookstore is for me.

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This is my QR Code.

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What We Talk About When We Talk About “Archives”

As Kenneth Price affirms, “current terms describing digital scholarship both clarify and obscure our collective enterprise.” When we talk about the term “archive” we have to define in which context and for what practices. Also, we have to talk about many important terms and definitions for a digital theory, but primarily we are left with a series of questions related to those terms and definitions, as preservation, memory, database, code, as well as the practices of edition, reading and writing in a digital environment. The archive is at the heart of the question of the digital scholarship specificities, yet it is still difficult to define it or (re)name it.

What is an archive? What is in that name? Does it reflect the (new, current) practices associated to the digital scholarship?

Can we use the same terms for digital scholarship until they begin to convey a broader meaning? Or is it better to create new terms? And eventually, how terms are created?

Taking into account our readings (Kenneth Price, Kate Theimer, Vannebar Bush, Susan Schreibman and Wendy Chun), I would like to propose a series of questions associated with the term “archive”:

Can we think of

digital archive/ Thematic Research Collection/ arsenal

Memex (as a precursor or not of Internet)

memory (digital memory)

digital objects / born digital

as an “archive” or a medium to create one?

What are the specificities of the digital archives and digital objects?

Which term would you create for “archive” in DH?

On fragmentation and handwriting!

As my classmates, I found it very hard to read the manuscript. I also had the feeling it was not going to be that hard: as a teacher I am very used to the most bizarre handwritings, but this was a puzzle for me. Second, as not being native English, it was more difficult to guess! Sometimes I did not know if the phrase or word I was reading belonged to the time Bentham wrote or it was more modern. The same with old words that I never heard of before. I searched on dictionaries, texts by Benham, I opened other folios. I do not know if I am the right person to work with an archive in a language other than the ones I know well! But sometimes it could be productive, as a foreign view is always interesting and helpful.

There were moments that I did not understand what I was transcribing as a text: I had just words with a minimum of cohesion and coherence. I had a feeling of complete fragmentation! I think that the exercise was good to see how fragmented digital texts are, how we face fragmentation everywhere working in DH. We were working with just a tiny part of the gigantic Bentham’s work, and in my case, knowing just what Foucault said about panopticons and nothing else. The good is that now I know a lot more about Bentham, his life and his work.

I must admit that I liked it a lot transcribing and encoding. When I began transcribing I found the tool bar very easy to use! But it was not so easy for me to find a folio to transcribe, I selected this one using the random option and it turned out to be easy level. But I had problems to read three little words, even though I spent many days trying to figure them out.
I received an answer, and it was accepted! I was surprised to know that the transcript was right! I just missed a few words (mainly because of the crossing outs), but the rest was ok. I received a text saying that it was “far from the easiest manuscript to transcribe, so this is a great effort!”

I found it very interesting having been part of a project that thinks of the importance of preservation (and I agree with Mary’s words), and in which many people are involved (volunteer transcribers, historians, editors, digital humanists, etc.) I liked the idea I was helping to the project, creating something new, doing, building.


On reading, translating and making questions

I selected a group of short stories by Edgar Allan Poe for this exercise. It was difficult to work with Machado de Assis this time, because I did not find the translation into English. Also, I was curious about seeing the particular voice of Poe’s stories, its peculiar vocabulary. But I also thought that it would be interesting to see some translation phenomena at the same time. I selected the anthology that Charles Baudelaire translated by the title Histoires extraordinaires. As I could find this edition in Project Gutenberg as well as the complete stories by Edgar Alan Poe, I decided to create a document in English with the same short stories.

It is well known that Baudelaire was the first translator of Poe into French and that this translation was very important for European literature. I wanted to see what happened if I compared the two anthologies through Wordle and WordItOut, and then HyperPo. So I began my exercise with some extra questions: Could we get interesting or relevant information about the words that appeared in the original and the translation? Are those programs helpful tools for Translation Studies?

I began with the Google Ngram Viewer, to compare Poe and Baudelaire in their respective languages, with pretty obvious results (I must admit I spent some time playing battles between couples like Derrida/Deleuze; Godard/Truffaut, etc. with amazing results):



But I wanted to see what happened in Spanish, and the results were more interesting. They are published or are subject of analysis almost at the same time! Why did this happen? Is the reception of Poe similar to Baudelaire’s in the Spanish speaking world? Are their figures similar?


When I created a word cloud through WordItOut I realized that there was a list of common words that the cloud ignored, and that I could change that list as well as replace characters. Also, I could change a lot of settings as number of words, order, color, etc. But when I tried to create a word cloud with the French version, I did not have the option of a foreign language, so I did it myself, adding the most common French words to be ignored by the cloud. The result was this:


WordItOut- English


WordItOut – French


I was surprised that most of the words were very common words, so I wonder if analyzing these results could be interesting. The importance of the word “now” maybe is telling us something about Poe’s short stories style regarding the treatment of time. We can make multiple interpretations from this result: the question of “time” in Poe’s literature, or moreover, the question of “time” in Baudelaire’s literature. Why Baudelaire chose these and not other stories to his first anthology of Poe’s work? Is there something behind the words?

When I used Wordle, I realized that the list of ignored words is not so big. Some common words  entered in the word cloud. I noticed that this program had a filter for different languages, but it happened the same with the French version, as I could see many words of common usage, as “bien” or  “cette” or  “comme”. So, in that case, Wordle was less useful to find meaningful results.

We have to think on one important issue: that we have to customize very carefully these tools. That arises the following questions: Are we making a text say what we want it to say? Is it just another way to do the same as the kind of literary criticism we already have?

When I pasted the words from WorditOut to Up-Goer, the program permitted all of them except six: “Dupin”, for it is a surname, “indeed”, “balloon”, “manner”, “itself” and “earth”.  I found it interesting that most of Poe’s words were common.


UpGoer Five

Using CLAWS, I found that most of the words are nouns, (I used the help of Wordle to see this in a clearer way!), adverbs, adjectives, general determiners, the “base forms” of the verb “to be”, prepositions, etc. I think it is an interesting tool when you are looking for something very specific. Again, all depends on the questions you have, the relevance of those questions and the relevance of the results. Data just for the data is meaningless.



Finally, TaPor is a very interesting program. It is much more sophisticated and useful than the word cloud creators. It works with texts in French, Spanish, German. The “voyant tools” were interesting, like seeing the frequency of certain word(s) in a graphic, in context, etc. You actually can “see through your texts” as the Web page invite the users. I found that “death” and “idea” appears the same amount of times! And “great” and “little” are the most common used adjectives. It is also interesting to see the differences between the two languages. The results tell us a lot about the particularities of both languages, like the common use of the verb “to say” in English language literature opposed to the use of synonyms of that verb in other languages’ literatures, as it is more frequent in the English version that in French version. There are a lot of data to read and analyze here!


I think all these tools are useful for translators to understand some phenomena, how we translate, how some writers and some translators use a particular vocabulary, style, phrase construction, etc. I think it would be great to do that with an own translation and see the results, and also to compare two translations of the same work!


At this level (just trying new tools, not researching for any particular paper) I found curious numbers and graphs, but if I had had in mind a set of questions and hypothesis, it would have been very useful –but always depending on the relevance of the questions and responses. I think that if we have questions very well defined, there will be some interesting results. (I wonder about the difference between answers and results. Do computers answer or just give us results?) And once we have some answers from the computer, we can reformulate new questions, which is the most interesting part of literary criticism, activity that, as Ramsay says, did not change with the introduction of computers. We interpret the results that machine can give to a certain research –word  frequency through a book, through time, etc. As Ramsay affirms,

“If something is known from a word-frequency list or a data visualization, it is undoubtedly a function of our desire to make sense of what has been presented. We fill the gaps, resolve contradictions, and, above all, generate additional narratives in the form of declarative realizations.”(62)

Results are results and they can not be changed; they are a fact. But we read them and we arrive to different conclusions, even though we have the same object in front of our eyes: algorithms, data or a book. Those are just different ways that let us read a story, and reading through machines is a fascinating one that many times defy our preconceived ideas or give us new perspectives of reading it. That feeling of learning to read again, of seeing a text in a whole different way, that “ostranenie”, are fundamental to begin making questions, to try to find new paths to fight against common places in literary criticism. Also it is a way to do things with books: like snipping its pages. That is something we can do because we are working with digital texts. And digital texts have a very different substance than printed texts. With computers we can analyze just text, but not other important details that also make part of our reading of a book (and the readings that that book had in the history of our culture) as the book itself: how and where it was published, how its covers are, from which collection, etc. So not everything can be read through machines, and we have to pay attention not to isolate the “text”, as if everything that should be read is just in the (digital) words of a text.

Through my experience working with different programs for this exercise, I realized that I was finding new questions (everything was questions! and I could not arrive to any answer at this level); I also found new ways of thinking texts, of thinking translations, and that is what I really like to do as a reader and as a student.

Many versions of many stories in many languages (and many problems)

I decided to work with the great nineteenth century Brazilian author Machado de Assis (author of Brás Cubas), and analyze the results in a more careful way than when I am researching for my study. It was not easy to find a great variety of titles by this author, so I had to choose from a selected group of titles that had full text versions available (because most of them were protected for copyright reasons). In Gutenberg Project, I only found two of the books that Machado wrote, so I decided to work with Varias historias (Many stories) a collection of sixteen short stories that was published in 1896, in Google Books, HathiTrust and Internet archives. I did not know I was going to find so many problems!

Google Books

The first option has only a snippet view, and it is a translation into Spanish, actually. So I went to the second option to read it in full, and I saw that it is from the Library of the University of Texas at Austin, a 1903 edition. It is a text that was first published in 1896, so this edition comes just seven years after that. Google books only offers the name of the publishing house, H. Garnier, the year, 1903, and the number of pages, 282 pages.  The formats offered are: plain text, PDF, EPUB. You can download the text, and in the online version the table of contents has links to the different parts of the book. It is possible to read it in “Google play”, as well, a kind of digital cloud to store books, music, etc. So, you can make your own google books library.

As far as restrictions on the digital contents are concerned, users are not allowed to sell the digital content or remove the watermark or other sign that says it belongs to Google. These are the same restrictions that HathiTrust and Internet Archive have.

The scanned version had all the pages. But I realized that the print copy itself had a lot of problems instead!  In one instance, the page number was reversed (175 instead of 157), and there was a line mistakenly inserted in a dialogue. But, fortunately, one of the readers of this book in its printed form corrected the mistake, so we can now “read it the way it should be”.

Google Books

The copy was full of marks that made the reading really annoying. In addition to this, another reader, who seems to be learning Portuguese, tried to “help” by translating some words he did not know!

Google Books 2

My question is: What is the advantage of having access to an edition like this? Why digitize such a poorly printed and preserved copy? And it is the first option when Google digitized many other versions of this book?


Internet Archive

The copy I was looking for appears in the entry as written in Spanish! The site says that the publisher is Casa de las Américas, its year of publication, 1904 (which is the first problem, because “Casa de las Américas was created after Cuban Revolution), its language is Spanish, and it belongs to the collection of an “unknown library.” But when I “opened” the book, the first thing that appeared is the bookplate of Stanford University, it is a book in the Portuguese language, and digitized by Google. When I searched in the catalog of Stanford University, the book appeared there, of course.

So, why did they say they do not know the origin? Why is the information so poor? There is a mix of correct information of this book (the publication year) with another book: its translation into Spanish more than sixty years after, published by Casa de las Américas. But if the two entries were few, when I began reading the book’s inside cover I found a third bibliographical entry on a post-it!

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This copy was published by the same publishing house just one year later than the copy I found in Google books: the edition was corrected, and (fortunately) the copy was clean! The formats offered were PDF, EPUB, Kindle, DJVu, Metadata. But if you want to read it online, there are many problems with some pages, they look like this:


It’s frustrating! This aside, the catalog record is incorrect. And that annoys me a lot, because I see once again the same mistake: thinking that Portuguese and Spanish is the same.  I found that there is an “editable web page” through “Open Library.” So I created an account to see what options I had to correct the mistake. It said that it had four revisions, but none of them changed the bibliographical entry. Now I had the chance to add some information about the book, and CHANGE the information given. So I changed the information about the publishing house, date, language…I was feeling much better after that! BUT I could not change the Language edition… it is like a curse… Spanish is NOT Portuguese… so I just added a comment warning that it was the original Portuguese edition, instead of the Spanish one that it announced.

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The copy I found here belongs to the New York Public Library, and it was digitized by Google (even though it is not possible to read in full in Google books).

The publishing house is the same as the others, H. Garnier, but they do not know the date of publication. It should be after 1903, because it is a corrected version. It is strange because the data does not appear where it appeared in the other two versions. There was only one format, PDF, but it is possible to read it online as well. But this copy is almost illegible!

IA 4

Many stories lack from one to three pages, a whole story is missing, and there is one page that was attacked by a cannibal or something:


HathiTrust has a feedback form to report problems. But if problems come from books digitized by Google, they only say that “Google is continually improving the quality of images and OCR it delivers to HAthiTrust partners.” So, the real answer is: wait.

It is possible to read the text in a Classic view, Scroll, Flip, Thumbnails and Plain text, which I found interesting and useful – but not so useful if the copy lacks pages and sometimes it is almost illegible!

You can download the PDF version only if you are part of the partner institutions (American universities, basically, and just one from Spain and France). You can create a collection (that can be private or public) and add the book.


Yes, digitization has a long way to go, but there are things that can be done just paying more attention to the information that is posted. The quality of the scan is sometimes very poor, if not the original!

On studying and building in Latin American literature

Hi everybody! I’m Julia. I am a PhD student and this is the first time in my career that I have taken a course about something that is so far from the debates I am used to studying and participating in. And I am very happy for that!

I find it really interesting to read about a debate inside DH (for example, how to name this “academic practice”, the borders of the field) when the debate I am used to studying is over what internet and digital texts have to do with literary studies. I come from Latin American literature studies (my interests are contemporary Latin American literature and especially Brazilian, as I am a literary translator from Portuguese into Spanish) and it is not common to hear about DH in our departments. At least not without the confusion between “scholars who use digital technologies in studying traditional humanities objects and those who use the methods of the contemporary humanities in studying digital projects,” as Kathleen Kirkpatrick says. It is a field that everybody finds interesting but prefers to keep at a safe distance.

Even though the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world has a great many digital literature projects, electronic literature, etc.: topics like those are not discussed in depth in our literature courses. I do not know if that is because it is not a “hospitable setting” for DH to grow, as Matthew Kirschenbaum affirms regarding DH in English Department. We do not have a tradition of studying the history of publishing alongside the history of literature– not to mention the history of translation.

Almost two years ago, I developed a digital project about contemporary Brazilian literature translated into Spanish ( I understand if  you do not know anything about Latin American literature, since the quantity of books translated from other languages represents only the 3% of the books published per year in USA. But there are some (digital!) projects that aim to revert this poverty, such as, a site I admire. Something similar happens between Spanish-speaking readers and Brazilian writers, although not by such as great margin. Some translations are available, but Brazilian literature is not very known in the rest of Latin America. So that’s why I thought of creating a web page to post my and others’ translations, as well as adding a data base about what has been published in Spanish in the last ten years, news, literary events and so on.  The idea was to bring Brazilian literature to Spanish-speaking readers and possible publishers.

It was during the creation of my page (I had to learn how to work with WordPress, CSS, HTML) that I became aware of the huge possibilities that publishing digital texts had not only for reaching certain community of readers but also to think about literature, translation and language. So I decided that this project could become part of my MA thesis, as it entered in a very academic but rather new field as the Digital Humanities. But through the readings for this week I came to know that the name and the boundaries of the discipline are not well established so far. Some do not like the term, others do not like the ways some scholars present the field. Sometimes the problem is asking the same questions, so we have to create new ones. Golumbia’s text and its comments triggered a set of questions that I found interesting: is DH a field in itself or is it part of different fields?

I do not belong to the DH field, and I am beginning to get to know the debates, but having in mind the project that I am developing, I found Stephen Ramsey’s text “On building” to be very true  and as enthusiastic as I am regarding the specificity of DH as a building practice. It is all about “building and making,” Ramsay says. I realized that the web page I was building was doing more than transmitting information: it had to do with creation and creativity, and also with studying certain concepts –translation theories– through the work with digital text: how to think (and publish) translation in texts with the characteristics of hypertexts. When I found that I could innovate and research at the same time, I found a different approach to my study: I could theorize and create something at the same time! Studying and building things –that is what Ramsey defines as the radical “move from reading to making.”

In my project, I discovered little by little new objectives that a web page could satisfy: being useful for readers, publishers, Portuguese students, Translation students, translators, and scholars. It was an academic but also a literary work. I was designing, writing, theorizing, and communicating with readers, publishers, and translators. As Trevor Owens, from the Library of Congress, posted on Day of DH: “The digital allows for scholars, librarians, archivists, and curators to engage much more directly with each other and the public. Further, it allows them not simply to write for each other, but to build things for everyone.” I like the idea of “community” in DH, where the reader is more active, and the author could be not just one. But also in the sense of a community of people doing the same: DH “is both a methodology and a community,” says Jason Farman in his comment for Day of DH. A community that I did not know about and I am amazed to have discovered, for I used to have no dialogue with colleagues or professors about digital topics.