1. Deformance?:

The use of this word is debated or contested in the text. Simply put, it is the exploration and thought process involved with defining and explaining the knowledge of what one does not know. Amazingly enough, one needs to be able to verbalize clearly what he or she does know and then needs to be able to identify those areas where disconnect and dissonance occur. I agree with McGann’s opposition who stated that this should be called tranformance instead. That word gives a notion that the disconnect or dissonance is transitive and not at all permanent. Or one could view transformative as more positive than the word deformance which almost sounds like the thoughts that one currently obtains are deformed or erred totally. And this we [should] know is not true because it is those initial thoughts that then lead us to the more developed and solidified spaces of knowledge that we go on to obtain.

The more tangible descriptions of the deformance techniques described on pages 108-135 (reading backward, reordering, isolating, ordering, altering, adding) have awesome pedagogical implications. The use of technology and the implementation of the abovementioned techniques can serve as the medium to help create this “Interface Culture” that McGann speaks so highly of on page 171.

  1. The Rosetti Project?:

The Rosetti Project is actually a very interesting project that McGann initiated to compile all of Dante Gabriel Rosetti’s works. Even more interesting is the fact that Rosetti was not just an author, poet, and writer, but he was also an artist, translator, and material designer. All of the aforementioned works are included in this extensive archive that is both aesthetically appealing and longitudinally valuable.

Nevertheless, as valuable and attractive as this space may be it still rendered some deep frustrations for me as I navigated through it, trying to access some of Rosetti’s artwork and material designs. This is the error message that I received many times over:

T HE Rossetti Archive is optimized for web browsers that comply with current HTML and Cascading Stylesheet standards, as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium. In particular, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Opera fail to correctly render the multi-column layout implemented throughout the Exhibit and Object sections. We strongly encourage all users to adopt a compliant browser, such as Mozilla’s Firefox, Camino, or Apple’s Safari.

The navigator is then rerouted to the Nines, Creative Commons, or the IATH websites. And that would be fine, but none of those sites are as interactive, if you will, as the Rosetti Archive site is. The Rosetti Archive site actually organizes and categorizes the works in a way that at least lets the viewer think that within two or three clicks the document or item will be accessed. Needless to say, I was rather disappointed when I could not get access through my basic computer, not a Mac. Within the extensive category of items were archive manuscript correspondence between Rosetti and others. Another special feature is his designs of random items from book bindings, jewelry, sofas, and much more.

            What I like the most about this archive is that it is obviously multifaceted with several layers of the artists/writers work and life. This, of course, is something that lends itself to the delivery of similar archives for individuals who are as multifaceted as Rosetti obviously was. Moreover, one could assume that we are indeed all that multifaceted in some way shape or form, but not all of us have had such a medium to display such distinctions and particulars.    

  1. How does the book differ from my concept of database???

Once I actually viewed the database, it met all of my expectations for such a database developed just before the social media era. It is visually striking and has basic user-friendly abilities. On the other hand, an upgrade that needs to be implemented is one that includes some type of social media. This is a wonderful database, but there is no where for it to go. How would individuals access it? How would or could it be used for research or instruction in classes other than the lone graduate student, like us? 

  1. McGann’s Theory?


McGann implicitly establishes his theory in the first twenty or so pages of the text. I had to dig a little deeper to find out more information about why he was so fascinated with Rosetti. It turns out that Rosetti was one who adamantly went against the grain in the artistic field. That perspective spilled over into his poetry and its intersection with art. Rosetti made significant connections between art (a technological art form of his time) and literature (poetry and prose). As a result, some of his work was what McGann calls “Double Work” on the archive.  Therefore, on page fourteen of the text, McGann reminds us of how Rosetti’s work sets a wondrous stage for us to explore the demonstrative results of Pre-Raphaelitism. This was a brotherhood founded by Rosetti and others to establish a form of artistic technique that differed from the techniques of Michelangelo and others who subscribed to his methods.

According to George P. Landow, Professor of Art History and English at Brown University, there were several beliefs associated with the Pre-Raphaelitism Brotherhood. I believe that two of those are the core of McGann’s premise:

  1. To test and defy all conventions
  2. To believe that the arts, especially writing and art are closely related.

The others are outlined on Landow’s website below:       


  1. How does the book relate to structuralism? Mythologies? Semiotics?

On page 33 McGann eludes to a greater emphasis on memorization and recitation. This is a steer away from basic literacy and promotes electracy that adopts the orality of old and the technological application of the day. Therefore, McGann’s thoughts lend themselves to semiotic studies because it goes beyond just agreeing and disagreeing to a place of critical use of knowledge. I believe I understand where he is going here, but in many ways I see how he is deforming this notion because he is totally confusing this idea. On one hand he is saying how memorization and recitation trumps literacy, but he agrees to the fact that it is not all that is needed.

Memorization and recitation clearly have their respective places, but the weight that McGann allocates seems to be unbalanced. As one talks about semiotics and the memorization and recitation of signifiers, he or she cannot assume that the signified is automatically acquired. So many have seen this in children who might emulate and repeat what they see and observe, but they may not intrinsically understand exactly what they are saying and/or doing/performing. As a resolve, I believe that this question or dichotomy lends itself to an interesting discussion of the power and pendulum swing involved in semiotics.


The Rose That Grew from Concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature’s law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.

Did hear grew

Is wrong

Learned to walk


Learned to breathe

Live grew


Above are the verbs that I pulled from the Tupac poem, and I must say that I believe that the Deformance test works for me. As a summary the verbs alone gives an overview of the story rendered in the poem. Let’s start from the beginning. Well, instead of having a question in the beginning, “did hear” becomes more of a strong statement. As in I DID HEAR. I interpret it as I did hear, and, as a result, I grew from that experience. This is distinctly different and has a different tone then when posed as a question, but it still renders the strength and force that the question does. The second line becomes problematic for me because one never really knows what has grown or what IS WRONG. This introduces the irony into the picture because the signifier is attempting to describe something that is wrong and I (the reader) am having a problem with that as well….Something is indeed wrong….

Line three allows us to think that whatever grew is now at the point where it has LEARNED TO WALK on its own. Tupac mentioned a rose, but the reader knows that it is Tupac himself or a person at the very least, so this focus on the verb drives the notion home for the reader that the writer is talking about a human being or creature, undeniably. The next line, line four, is the first line with a single verb. That speaks volumes because in the silence the reader is left to wonder into the thought process which leads directly into the next line –  LEARNED TO BREATHE. This line let’s the reader know that the grown that has taken place was not just physical, but also internal. How awesome! That is exactly what Tupac thought, but this makes that idea more explicit that it creates in the original or at the very least colors that idea in a different light.

Lastly, LIVE GREW gives me the thought that maturity is obtained and as a result someone has shown that he or she CARED about someone else. Deformance rocks!!!! However, I think that I would call it De-Performance because it almost forces the text or reorganization thereof to be performed or thought of in a new way that can be arbitrary, different, or new, yet , in some ways, it is still the same. This is confusion of the meaning in its rawest sense.

I cannot wait to try this with my students. The ideas are already flowing about how I can present poems to them in different ways both on paper and electronically to create this act of deformance – to see if they will be able to organize, develop or construct meaning through it.