Archive for December, 2011

Cover Letter

Dear viewer, reader and internet stumble-uponer alike,

This website is meant to serve as a source of information on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Gold-Bug, a treasure-hunter tale that focuses on the themes of cryptology and discovery to take readers on a manic journey across on Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina in pursuit of buried pirate fortune. This website represents a semesters worth of work on the topic for English 170W, an introduction to literary theory course at Queens College under the guidance of Professor Ferguson.

Published in 1843, the story was Poe’s “claim to fame” and is one of the earliest examples of American detective fiction. This website includes pages overseeing various topics, including Poe’s biography, scholarly research into his inspiration and motive for the piece, its resulting influence, literary theoretical analysis, investigations into the use of modern tools like Wordle and Ngram, and much more.

Because the work is based heavily in connections to Poe’s life, much research into the author’s background is necessary to create a website adequately committed to the story. Many of the processes used to acquire enough information on the author consisted of tedious research, from websites, scholarly journals and biographies in order to grasp a full understanding of Poe. For instance, its on good authority that Poe had a real interest in cryptology and treasure hunting, an important point when analyzing a story written by him on such fields.

In order to complete this site, I also had to explore venues and ideas that before were unknown to me, such as physical tools like Wordle and Ngram, as well as intellectual schools of thinking like new critiscm and structuralism. In order to create a site that thoroughly explained a work in regards to these elements, I had to become schooled in them well enough myself, a task that could be daunting at times.

The entire process has definitely made exploring the digital humanities a strength of mine. As a writer, its difficult to make the jump from pure academic writing to twitter, where whole ideas are expressed in 160 characters or less. This class has undoubtably improved my social media writing, to the point where I would consider it a strength of mine. It has also allowed me to learn how to navigate digital tools like this blog and others more fluidly.

Although I still wouldn’t consider it a strength of mine, this class has definitely improved my comprehending of literary theories and my ability to analyze texts through these methods of thinking. After all this time and all this writing, I’m still not crazy confident in my ability to do this. That being said, most of these theories still are new to me, having only been exposed to them for a few months or weeks. Reading through the literary lens and coherently expressing my thoughts on the matter is one of the biggest challenges as a writer, but hopefully I did an adequate job in expressing my analysis in the pages set aside for doing so on this site.

As for other challenges, I still need to get better at jumping in with both feet in regards to subjects that don’t really spark my interest. Its fulfilling to make connections to texts, and to be able to analyze and understand everything the author attempted to relay, but there comes a point where I’d rather not examine a story from every possible viewpoint. So will say this makes me a bad English student, and that may be so. But for me, its more about the beauty of the prose and the way it makes you feel as a reader. That said, I definitely need to work on investing myself whole-heartedly into the various forms technical analysis when it comes to literature.

I hope you enjoy the website, or at least the pretty colors.

Joe Trezza

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