Digital Writing Month

I’ve just signed up for Digital Writing Month, which charges participants with producing 50,000 words of digital writing during the month of November. The goal is ambitious, but my hope is that it will help me sort some of the ideas that have been kicking around in my head lately.

I finished and defended my dissertation last August, so I hope that participating will help me assess where my scholarship has been and map some new directions going forward. Namely, I hope to get down in writing some of the ideas for transforming my dissertation, Ridiculous Modernism: Nonsense and the New in Literature Since 1900, into a book, tentatively titled Languages of the Ridiculous: Poetics and Perceptions of Nonsense, Lear to Flarf.

This week, I’ll begin by mapping out in general how my dissertation developed, what it became, and where I see it going as it turns into a book. To lay out goals for myself this week, I plan to write on:

  1. How a project on the borderlines of poetry and prose in modernism turned into a project on nonsense and modernism;
  2. How my interest in nonsense got specified to an interest in the ridiculous connotations of nonsense and the perception that nonsense is ridiculous;
  3. How my understanding of a “ridiculous modernism” has turned back to an interest in changing visions of nonsense in the twentieth century;
  4. What interests me about the ridiculous right now;
  5. What interests me about nonsense right now;
  6. What I see as the relationship between nonsense, the ridiculous, and the contemporary movements of Flarf and Conceptualism;
  7. and How my understanding of the ridiculous in contemporary poetry—and in digital culture—informs my reading of Ara Shirinyan’s Your Country is Great.

In later weeks, I’ll sketch notes toward specific sections of the book and propose some new interventions in the digital humanities. I look forward to hearing from anyone who’s willing to read along with my work in progress. And if Digital Writing Month is something you’re interested in, you should play along.

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