Mullen reading response

1.) The article argues that by closely examining the corpus of Jane Welsh Carlyle’s personal letters, one can look deeper into her own personal identity and views on femininity in the victorian era. From reading the passage i concluded that the thesis statement was,

“Understanding this creative space challenges the pervasive connection of nineteenth- century letters with femininity and domesticity. In so doing, Welsh Carlyle’s corpus and her simultaneous adherence to and manipulation of epistolary conventions offer a much more sophisticated way of perceiving her identity”

2.) The authors incorporate graphs in their piece as an alternative to classic methods of close reading as a means of analyzing how Carlyle’s letters produce a more in depth sense of identity. The authors cite graphs as a means of proving their point about Carlyle’s identity in the same way direct quotes and close reading would have been traditionally used. The graphs blend contemporary analytics with classical analysis.

3.) “As the figure reveals” “topic 24 (see Figure 4) , for example” “Welsh Carlyle’s topic networks, pictured below”

4.) These statements are all connected because they all make reference to the act of visualizing evidence. All quotes refer to the evidence as visual and have the reader physically view their evidence.

5.) The authors use secondary and primary sources to help pain a picture of how Carlyle’s letters had been analyzed in the past. Some of this includes actual excerpts from Carlyle’s letters to prove the point about her concept of home. The secondary sources used are taken from scholarly articles which discuss how the Carlyle letters help to show who she was more closely.

6.) That evidence relates to the graphs in the sense that they are both used as pieces of evidence that help pain a picture of who Carlyle actually was and her concept of the home and femininity. While their methodology for analysis was different, they both examined the same texts and sought to prove the same points about how Carlyle’s letters give a better look into her views and ideas.

7.) The authors incorporate other sources by making reference to the scholars who penned the works which the authors are referencing. “Anne Skarbarnicki, for one, argues that scholars ought to…”

8.) I thought the use of the graphs was a bit out there in terms of analyzing the Carlyle letters; Granted thats the entire point of the piece, I still think the use of analytics might be somewhat of a stretch.

9.) For one, in the introduction there was never really a reference to who Carlyle actually was. I was forced to look her up because I had never even heard the name. Depending on the audience I would imagine that a quick biography wouldn’t be necessary for who the work was actually intended for, however if it is meant to be read by non scholars you should consider at least mentioning who she is.

10.) I felt as if the evidence provided was sufficient enough to make the point clearly and concisely.


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