I don’t know if I have a real relationship with John Oliver Hobbes. I haven’t really read her work here in a proper way. I’ve only read it in these fragments and these isolated chapters. I’m annotating A Study in Temptations, but I don’t really know what A Study in Temptations is about besides terrible rich people and that’s a high majority of 19th century fiction. And I’m not really reading these chapters. I’m not pacing my reading in a way where I’m imagining the scene and imagining the characters in a full way. I’m scanning to see where the Paradise Lost reference is. I’m taking this text and filtering it through this half-working algorithm that is my brain.
I’m not necessarily looking at it like a math problem either because it isn’t just this problem or equation. It is still a text but I feel a greater distance to it. I feel less involved with it. I’m not engaged with it like a book but I’m focusing a lot on what the text is referring to outside of the text. I’m looking at the data of the text more than the words of the text. I’m looking into it’s subtext and focusing on what is underneath these words/data more than the words as they were when they were on paper. I’m reading and I’m not reading. I’m scanning.
This is an interesting thing to take away from this project because there is this distance in a wikisourced text. I don’t have the same concentration or focus if the text is just screeched out on a screen. I lose focus and scroll down to see how long it goes til it hits the bottom. I don’t have that same relationship or same focus that I do with a physical book and that’s the hurdle the digital atmosphere of this project and projects like it have to jump over. The digital edition has to maintain this focus first and foremost if it wants to replicate and improve the book. The digital edition can provide this large volume of extra content and information, but if it doesn’t provide this focus to the word and focus on the actual material as material, it just creates this distance to the material because it doesn’t provide this same relationship a book does with a reader. The book creates this pleasant isolation that a machine connected to every distraction cannot necessarily maintain.