Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On first opening Newman

My copy of Apologia arrived today, and so, excited to have a package, I jumped right in, although I haven't gotten far. I scored a Norton Critical Edition for $1 plus s/h, and the foreward already got me thinking about a couple of things:

First, although I knew Apologia was originally published as a response to Kingsley's polemical pamphlet, I hadn't ever really thought about the reality of pamphlets, nor that they were written in 7 different parts plus an appendix over a period of about 8 weeks.  It struck me that these pamphlets must in some regards have been a prototype of blogging: relatively brief and unpolished, reactive, cheaply and quickly dispersed through word of mouth.

Second: Like some bloggers, Newman apparently felt his original tone was a little too strident. This Norton edition contains both the 1886 "definitive" edition, in which Newman edited out Kingsley's name, deleted some of his refutations, and softened his tone, and the 1864 original Parts 1 and 2, so the reader can compare N's more immediate reaction with his reconsidered argument.

As a part of my work/study program as an undergrad, I worked for a while for a professor who was a Newman scholar.  My job was to transfer her notes on index cards to a Microsoft Word table. (Someone probably eventually had to transfer that table to something more advanced like excel...)  The cards contained mostly one or two words and annotations where these words appeared in various texts.  So you'd think I'd be more familiar with Newman, but mostly I just know the names of his books, a little bit of an Idea of a University, and some of the vocabulary words he uses.

9 comments:

Melanie B said...

Emily, the blogging analogy had occurred to me too.

Pentimento said...

That is really interesting. I guess the major difference is that both Newman and Kingsley were such well-known figures in their day, and were not shy of calling each out. Most of the ad hominem attacks I've read on blogs, on the other hand, are penned anonymously.

BettyDuffy said...

Emily, I think you're on to something here. I'm always looking for a way to legitimize blogging.

Just wondering, for the sake of planning ahead, should we linger on Apologia through December and then pick up with Melanie's selection in January?

And Melanie, if you know what you want to read, I'll post it on the syllabus so people can order their books.

Pentimento said...

At the rate I'm reading, I vote yes to staying with Apologia. I'm pretty swamped with life stuff right now -- moving to our new house next month, plus grant applications for the concert series, plus adoption paperwork. I think Apologia is finally starting to get a little more interesting, though.

Emily J. said...

Sounds like lots of exciting changes, Pentimento. And you picked a great time of year when nothing else is going on to do all this. Blessings be on your new home, new child, and concert series!

Otepoti said...

Me too on the Newman carry-over. Christmas is a pretty mad time of year in NZ, what with the summer here, and everything to do.

Pentimento said...

Thank you -- will keep all posted.

BettyDuffy said...

Congrats P on exciting news!

mrsdarwin said...

Oh, congratulations, Pentimento! That's wonderful news.

I'd also vote for one more month on Newman -- then I might finally get to the body of the work.