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Phillip Cortes-Making It Different Test Page

Page history last edited by Phillip Cortes 8 years ago

In the style of Lisa Samuels and Jerome McGann's deformations of poems, I've did something similar with the first invocation from Paradise Lost.

The original can be found here. Here is a deformation of the invocation showing only the nouns:


               Mans        Disobedience              Fruit

                                    Tree                     tast

        Death              World                   woe

         loss       Eden                          Man

              us                                       Seat

                    Muse                           top

     Oreb       Sinai

        Shepherd                                      Seed

        Beginning               Heav’ns      Earth

                  Chaos                              Hill

          thee                        Brook

                        Oracle     God  I

                  aid                                 Song


                              Mount            it

Things                                 Prose     Rhime

                        Thou    Spirit

                     Temples           heart

          me       thou               thou



           it                                  me


                 highth                  Argument,

I                                Providence,

                         wayes    God      men


Interesting about this image is its looped or spiral-like structure. It's as though one now has to read circularly or around the curvatures that the words create. So you might be reading clockwise in the upper loop, starting at "Mans," going to "Fruit," then through "Hill," around "God" and "Oracle," and back up to "Tree." Or you could read counter-clockwise, starting at "Fruit" or "Man" and ending a "tast." Alternatively, you could see the upper part of the deformed work as having two columns, where "Mans  Disobedience" forms the top of the first column and "Fruit" forms the second.


Perhaps the most compelling detail one can find here is how the word "flight" forms the focal point, or the center, of the double-looped structure of the invocation. In the first loop we see nouns that denote places or positions (Tree, world, seat, top, Oreb, Sinai, Brook). "Flight's" central position in the double-loop helps to signal a change in direction-- a flight-like departure from the fixation on place and towards a deeper investment in articulating the "Argument," "Providence," and God's "wayes" to "men." It's this word "flight" which begins the second loop that focuses on the epic justification of providence.


And here's a deformation that shows only the verbs of the first invocation:





Restore        regain


                                didst inspire




Delight                                              flowed






                                                      dost prefer


Instruct                know'st


                 sat'st brooding

        mad'st                                 is

Illumin       is         raise         support


   may assert



We quickly notice the "D-like" structure. There's a straight vertical column with a curvature on the right. What we observe is that as both the vertical column and the curve wind downward, they reach a clustering of closely packed verbs (sat'st brooding, mad'st, is, Illumin, is, raise, support, may assert, justifie). Perhaps this clustering accentuates the narrator's urgent desire to articulate the justification.


Lastly, here's a Voyant ScatterPlot-generated Correspondence Analysis of the first invocation:

Screen shot 2013-11-26 at 1.47.13 AM.png

We see now a triangular outline of the invocation. You'll notice that some of the words on this image are blurred. The likely reason for this is because certain words have the same frequency and so these words overlap and blur each other. The spatialization that emerges is the result of statistical calculations. Words are spaced according to their frequencies in relation to the average frequency, which is 0 in this plot. So the word that is closest to the average of 0 is "and." Instead, of "flight" as the focal point of the first example of deformation, the conjunction "and" surfaces as the average, norm, and center.


Comments (2)

Corrigan said

at 10:21 am on Nov 26, 2013

A) The noun deformation is totally rad looking. Like some sort of tornado hourglass.
B) I like that the verbs look like a pregnant belly. (That's my New England hippie side coming out)

Phillip Cortes said

at 11:20 am on Nov 26, 2013

That's a great observation about the verb deformation looking like a pregnant belly, since in the original the narrator says," Thou [Spirit] from the first / Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread / Dove-like satst brooding on the vast Abyss/ And mad'st it pregnant." So one could argue the verb deformation echoes that sense of pregnancy, or that the clustering of verbs in bottom part of the "D-shaped" image represents a womb-like shape pregnant with the narrator's desire to justify providence.

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