So at the end of class there was an analysis of two things, Shakespeare’s My Mistress’s Eyes and a Dilbert comic. New Historics say that both of these items are an event that occurred within their respective cultures. A, happening, if you will caused a slew of unwritten socially produced texts. These texts, or symbols of texts, coalesced into the form in which we consumed them. And as the ensuing discussion showed, every aspect of those “events” was relevant; we could have gone even further with it as well. How would our impression of the Dilbert comic have changed if we were show it printed in a newspaper surrounded by other comics, would the name of the paper or the date have changed our feelings toward it. Would the Garfield comic nearby have added or distracted from the Dilbert comics message? What about Shakespeare’s poem, What if we had been reading it out of a first edition book? Would the mere act of turning the pages to get to the poem have changed its impact; or the texture of the paper? What if it had been a modern reprinting like the Critical Norton edition of Alice we used? Did that version of Alice have a different impact for you than the big, bright, pressed cardboard, hardcover, edition you might remember from your childhood?
In essence the points we looked to in class were shaped by the manor the material was presented. Arguably to get to the meat of the matter, to encourage us to view them as texts, rather than as an “event”.
Consider the Dilbert comic again; Think now of how you would approach it if you were shown it in four different ways at the same time: in a word doc, on the Dilbert website surrounded by ads, in a Dilbert book, and in a newspaper. A New Historic would use all of these varied forums of presentation to their advantage, because ALL of them tell something different, as different versions of other “texts” lead to their “event”. Some of them may have had the same text play a part, like Scot Adams, he as Dilbert’s creator would have been an influential text in those events but not the only one, the publisher for the book, the editor for the paper, the web-host for the site. On and on into the web of other texts that informed and helped to create that one series of events.