Literature and Notes

Thursday, October 6th, 2005

Tonight in BL Uno, I spoke to students at the board and routined by taking on a persona who referred to things the teacher said. Teacher said that since the color black follows throughout Astrophel and Stella, then black must have some significance to the sonnet sequence. I wrote lines of poetry on the board and disentangled them with scribbles of notes. The lines go

Louing in trueth, and fayne in verse my loue to show,
That she, deare Shee, might take som pleasure of my paine,
Pleasure might cause her reade, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pittie winne, and pity grace obtaine,
I sought fit wordes to paint the blackest face of woe;

Here we have “blackest face” and here we have all of sonnet 7

When Nature made her chief worke, Stellas eyes,
In colour blacke why wrapt she beames so bright?
Would she in beamy blacke, like Painter wise,
Frame daintiest lustre, mixt of shades and light?
Or did she else that sober hue deuise,
In obiect best to knitt and strength our sight;
Least, if no vaile these braue gleames did disguise,
They, sunlike, should more dazle then delight?
Or would she her miraculous power show,
That, whereas blacke seems Beauties contrary,
She euen in black doth make all beauties flow?
Both so, and thus, she, minding Loue should be
Plac’d euer there, gaue him this mourning weede
To honour all their deaths who for her bleed.

In this sonnet “black” returns. It’s not a strong link, because the black of Stella’s eyes doesn’t necessarily bleed from the “woe” of sonnet 1. But in terms of reading for literal understanding, the final line of 7 points back to “woefullness” and connects (links) to the deaths we die for love. Sidney is all over the contraries, spelling out love and desire in terms of pain and longing. There’s a darkness to love, a dark power, sweatly luminous and marvelously painful.

The notes on the board and the connections made through paraphrase indicate the importance of notes to study, learning, and organizing ideas, which fly and bonk about like bubbles. Why do the PCers wait for Tinderbox for PC? Because we need powerful tools for visualizing connections and making then accessible and sharable. Notebooks are cool, and embodying by writing in books as a means of response to ideas is cool too. We already know that the flexibility of weblog systems make for excellent ways of organizing whatever needs organizing. They’re wonderful tools for portfolios, if the thinker can conceptualize the space, understand the machine, and keep up the energy.

Note-taking while reading or in a state of reflection (the hypertext at work) is a critical procedure. At the board, while in that odd-ball state of character, I found myself learning before the crowd, learning more about a work that I’ve experienced many times. Sidney isn’t over by a long shot.


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