Genius Annotation Project Proposal

As we discussed, I’m going to focus my final paper on researching social annotation through the Genius platform, and potential implication of the platform on reading and writing. I want to do this through the Barthsian lens of “Text” and reading through writing, which is expressed in the annotation platform.

As I’ve researched over the past few days, and as we’ve read through works in class, I’ve been interested in seeing how hierarchies of authorship shape the possibilities of annotation. Genius plays with this a lot, as have prior (more primitive) annotation platforms like this one developed for the web browser Mosaic (this website introducing the tool is almost 22 years old, according to a domain dating tool I used)—the inventor of Mosaic invested 15 million into the development of Rap Genius, since he had originally hoped to officially incorporate a group annotation tool into the Mosaic browser. On the entry way for the annotation tool, developed by the university of Utah, it lists two caveats as a result of completely free annotation: 1. Be nice, don’t mess with other’s annotations; and 2. don’t trust all the annotations you read. Using this website as a primary source of early group annotation and looking as those tenants as a sort of rhetorical guide for how annotation has developed, and now exists on Genius, will be a useful tool in my research.

I also hope to think about the implication of the authorship and development of the website itself, by a small team of white, male, Yale-graduate “brogrammers,” has on senses of annotation stemming out of an inherently black genre and how that translates to other genres on the site. It may be worthwhile in this vein to research and compare to how as a platform which has been rebranded to annotate *everything* the volume and quality of annotation differ from text to text (i.e. Rap from today to Harlem Renaissance Fiction, to Victorian Poetry), and think about what it suggests for audience and writers on the platform.

There are plenty of news articles about Genius as it has rose in prominence on the web, but there are not many scholarly articles that I can find (I have only found one so far)—I’m not sure if this is because searching “genius” is not at all specific enough to use in search engines, or because there really isn’t anything on the website. This poses a challenge but also an opportunity: I don’t have much to contribute to in terms of established discourse, but I do have a lot of freedom with where to go with my project.

I’m planning on turning my final essay into a project on Manifold, through which—in the spirit of my questions about annotation—I would be able to annotate my own work, open it up to the annotation of others. Using it for the “Benito” project was a fun introduction, but I am curious to see what else is possible on such a flexible (and beautiful!) platform. I am also excited to play with incorporating visuals (maybe interactive?) from Genius as I work on/with that platform in my research, into my completed project.

And finally, sorry for the delay in posting! There is more research to be done on this, and my direction may change course slightly, but this is where it seems to be going at the moment.

Reception and Advertising Benito

I realized two things as I began researching “reception history” of Benito Cereno: the first, that there is more critical reception of Herman Melville than a given person could ever attempt to consume; the second, that Melville was well-enough known that the reception of his work stretched beyond the typical discourse-based response to it. In the first vein, I initially attempted to read the text by thinking about how East-to-West migration of ex-slaves would have affects interpretations of the text, into criticism regarding homosociality and race, but I found a lot of this either predictable or as not quite connecting to the text in a way that I thought would be stimulating for the purpose of the project. This however led me to the second area of my research, which I used for my annotations, which was trying to examine how advertising, visual, and print culture “received” Benito Cereno.

I originally began combing through old newspapers in search of local reviews (in particular, a review I saw quoted in a different paper which compared Melville to Hawthorne.) My searches for “Melville” and “Benito Cereno,” did not yield results regarding my intended search, but they did pull a bunch of hits for advertisements for Putnam’s Magazine, and for The Piazza Tales. This led me to start considering how advertising and print culture was linked to the capitalist and imperialist critique’s held within the writing itself, and considering how the way the story was advertised—the visuals, rhetoric, and locations of these ads—laid the grounds for a more subtle effect on its reception. From there, I began to focus on interpreting more tangible aspects of the text itself. For example, finding where each of the 3 sections of the original text started and ended as they were printed in Putnam’s, and imagining how that would have affected a reader or critic’s reading of the text. I also considered how the other texts published around it in Putnam’s would have contextualized, and thus shaped the text. As we have been discussing the relationships of a given text to different mediums of reading/writing and the discourse around and upon it, this seemed like an important thread of reception that would, to an extent, form the basis for any other reception of it.

Ultimately, this alerted me to an advertising and print culture which Melville was writing directly into; it served partially as a reminder that one of the ironies of Benito Cereno is that it is both a political questioning of American capitalist preservation through slavery, as well as a reminder that his writing itself participates in the capital endeavor to fund his arts and free speech. Advertising also called into question whether or not the scholarly or critical reception I was searching for was mutually exclusive to these advertisements and listings. As part of the broader printing context in which Benito Cereno would have been greeted by the public—majority of whom I assume were not reading it critically—through these advertisements, which rarely include anything but a list of titles and a brief and vague comment. The advertisement below, which was published in tons of newspapers reads at the bottom, “A book of our author’s happiest style; it has been admired by all who read it as it passed through the press and we believe that it will be a favorite book.”

Such commentary does nothing to draw attention from the reader to the book’s content, but it does create a framework of excitement with which to approach the book. The self-creation of reception in this case still exists with literature, but with the lack of other contemporary criticism I wonder if the effect is felt more severely on the reader.

Working in a group and working on Manifold worked well for the purpose of this project. As a platform, Manifold was pretty flexible and leant itself as an excellent surface to annotate the text. I will say that a frustration I faced was in the separation of resources from annotations. While the resources could be given a long caption or analysis in itself, they existed very separately from the text, (it comes up as the icon of a box and when clicked opens a pop up of that resource, but when you re finished looking at the resource, it brings you to the very top of the story.) This was frustrating for me as I wanted to insert clippings from newspapers that I was finding within the text to bridge narrative and rhetorical analysis to issues subsisting in the visual print culture in which the text would have initially been read by the public. I also sometimes put my annotation as a caption for the resource, which made me unsure that my contribution would be understood as an annotation by a casual reader. The annotation side of Manifold is much more natural if a bit bare-bones; it does not allow for hyperlinks, images, italic or bold font, etc. which give scholarly annotations some life. I also couldn’t figure out how to see annotations by all authors besides scrolling through and manually selecting annotated passages. I felt like this made it harder for me to collaborate with my group members, because I had to work really hard just to see what and where they were annotating. Visually, the platform is beautiful, and easy to work with—especially in that everyone in the group could be admins and do work independently and with equal control on the text. I noticed that this project was collaborative on larger decision-making moments, but less collaborative on the actual getting-down-to-work part. Our email chain and google doc were really useful in re-affirming directions individuals were heading in, and creating an intertextual collage on the back-end of our final product, although at the end I felt like the annotations I created (as well as the annotations other group members created) were unique to their own lens of research and analysis. The synthesis of these things on a shared platform with collaborative background communication is definitely exciting to see come together on the Manifold Platform.

In terms of self-reflection, I feel like it took me a little while before jumping into the project as I spent most of my time exploring and learning the platform and then navigating how I wanted to approach researching and writing my annotations. My group took the approach of diving in and finding lots of different resources and compiling them into a word document, but I personally tend to work better when I have a specific lens or goal in mind. My initial approach in looking up traditional criticism of his work wasn’t very satisfying, and I wasn’t finding it very exciting to read criticism and then insert it into the text. This lead me into looking into the boundaries and repercussions of critical reception through the more everyday medium of visual print and advertising culture of newspapers. Taking the time and embracing the process of finding my way down this route over a week of research probably led me to have fewer annotations than I should have, because the time spent writing was spent instead working through archives and oftentimes hitting dead-ends. Regardless, it was a fun exercise in opening up a new area of inquiry not only for my reading of the text (and hopefully other people’s through my annotations!), but also into what I can considered “reception,” and why.

Annotation and Epistolarity

Just at the beginning of his article, Jones points out “as long as there has been writing, there have been readers who follow along and ‘write back.’” It caught my attention sent me to Blair’s discussion of note-taking and her reference to linking it to different forms of communication and inscription (newspapers, diaries, lecture notes,) and Bush’s argument that note-taking’s primary use is in referencing and informing discussion. We have followed these principals in our use of, and we’ve discussed how our social annotation creates a dialogue, and a Barthesian reading through writing. Because the nature of annotation as presented by all as a dialogue, I was prompted to think of how annotation intersects with the epistolary genre. The most obvious is that their primary medium shares a signifier, “note,” as well as in the corporeal acts required to create them—the typing to function “memex,” and the friction of pen on paper—but more so that correspondence is inherent to both genres.

The two genres share a distinct relationship with transmission and documentation. Blair’s piece is ultimately concerned with transmission, and she addresses that the “note” in “note-taking” is one that is grounded in a desire to converse with a text or an author, and that the desire to read other people’s annotations—typically scholars or experts—is useful in informing the reader of conversations, albeit fragmented ones. While she addresses that these are pragmatic, academic uses (more akin to “memex” in Bush), what sets note-taking apart is “thought and expression” and “personal memory on paper” (99,106). This deeply human aspect doesn’t at all deviate from the epistolary genre: texts are often written ephemerally; they are fragmented both in writing, and historically, in lagging or interrupted delivery; authors pick and choose what they wish to address based on the content of interest from the initial letter; and they represent conversation between one author and another who’s natural and required response to reading is writing in return. Furthermore, their mediums share a signifier: the “note” can be the scribble in a margin, a grocery list, a telegram, a diary entry, or a letter. Blair uses the terms “thought and expression” and “personal memory on paper” to describe note-taking, but in my opinion they fit in even more organically with letter-writing, or perhaps note-making.

This emphasizes the call-and-response nature of the note, but also the note’s form as being both independent of, but intimately linked to the text is responds to. I first think of archives of letters which may only have one side of the correspondence. In this situation, lacking the other half doesn’t render them null, but rather emphasizes the role of response as a valid and fulfilling means of approaching a given text. Another example are annotation editions of texts; Ulysses Annotated does not contain the written prose of Joyce’s novel, but rather dedicates the pages solely to dissecting the book’s allusions in its own separate body. This publication comes off not as inherently epistolary but as one with coded language, saying to Joyce, “hey, we figured your riddles,” and separately to its compatriots in reading Joyce, “we got your back.” These independent bodies of annotation slide into Bush’s examination of the “record” and the role of the machine in storage and transmission. In these cases, the note itself becomes the archive of conversation. But the engineered machines that Bush conceives of with “memex” technology is actually better suited for the longer-form, independent, more epistolary note-making rather than the marginal annotation. In my experience, at least, it’s pretty difficult to annotate on a computer without additional programs (like which allow you to do so—and it’s worth pointing out that programs devised by this construction are, in themselves, a practice in notation through a language of codes written between electric signals.

Creating this metaphor for myself continued to solidify the conversations we’ve been having around social annotation both as a way of communicating with a text and author, as well as with each other. Blair’s mention of the diary format, an epistolary medium, for note-taking against the robotic and photo-textual methods in Bush against the contemporary and pragmatic suggestions in Jones emphasized communication among texts and readers as critical to comprehension. The differences across them reminded me of the non-teleological nature of note-taking as it is embodied by any style of notation— or (oftentimes) letter writing. It also causes me to wonder what value it might be to approach annotation as a project in more literal letter-writing (though, I guess that’s what we are doing in [what Jones would agree are useful] blog posts)—framing annotations as directed explicitly toward the author, the text, other readers, and myself as figures that will respond and converse based off of contributions and engagement, as opposed to the single-word side note, symbol, highlight, or other scribble.

Lawless Annotations

The practice, history, and theory of annotation creates frictions between the form and practice of writing in margins as we approached it in Barthes. I found myself confronting a few issues: the first, is how annotation is organized hierarchically with the writing and philosophizing of a capital “T” Text; second, whether or not annotations themselves are Text. The complications with my questions come in with the issue of categorization and law both in Barthes and in Bauer/Zirker.

The author’s death is complicated by annotation; she dies as other voices speak over and around what she has written, but at once she cannot die when she is in constant conversation with annotations. Furthermore, the author and the writing change based on what rules are laid out for the annotation. I found that in our project with annotation on Barthes’ text, the annotations were laid out in an organized way but they were almost anarchic; we had no distinguished approach to the annotations and so we got a soup of responses and conversations int he margins of the text. Some people left short questions posed to the other annotators and to RB, others left comments of frustrations, others left analyses and thoughts, others left norton-style annotations that were geared towards helping the rest of us read (ex. Kat helpfully spotted an allusion to the Death of the Author and Barthes’ definition of “doxa”.) It seems that Bauer and Zirker would be concerned with the “trustworthiness and authority” of the text:

…questions of expertise and authority arise when a text is annotated. New forms of collaboration made possible by the digital medium sharpen the theoretical question of how explanatory authority is established. Conversely, our idea of how annotation becomes most trustworthy and authoritative will influence how we organize its practice.

This suggests that a “good” annotation would be structured and credible. They lay out their methodology for structuring annotations to prioritize organization and usefulness within that formula. This system requires a meta-thought about annotation, rather than an organic stream of interaction with the writing at hand. Their approach to annotation is one that distinguishes it as a genre of experts, and which is shaped by such an approach to the text. It counters directly with the style/feeling of our comments and interplay with the text of annotation we approached as a class and as individuals—my own annotations ranged from rhetorical analysis to memes—but I don’t believe the lawlessness of our annotations should negate them as serious and scholarly ones (okay, the Arrested Development joke was not serious or scholarly, but the New Yorker Cartoon was!) The actual heart of how I see annotation functioning in new web platforms and capabilities is not so much a new ability to organize and govern, but a means to make what is—and should always be—a playful and intellectual chaos in the margin accessible to any who chooses to be a writer/reader.

Especially when the nature of Barthes’ text is to demand a textured quality in “good” writing, and that good writing is that with Text, not necessary what is most elite. He specifically discusses how the laws of texts which give rights to the author limit the malleability of a text:

…literary science therefore teaches respect for the manuscript and the author’s declared intentions, while society asserts the legality of the relation of author to work (the ‘droit d’auteur’ or ‘copyright’, in fact of recent date since it was only really legalized at the time of the French Revolution).

This remark suggests that it’s only by human legal delineation that written works are granted singular authorship to their creator, and he differentiates this from the capital “T” text, which “reads without the inscription of the Father,” or rather is read instead through the inscription of the audience and context. Our annotations follow this same principal, imposed on top of Barthes, with tenuous connection to our physical selves behind account handles. Our random annotations are their own genre and performance of Text, a new interdisciplinary language, as Barthes might have it. It seems that in this capacity, the intertextuality embodied by our annotations makes them as important as the text itself. Laws and Texts don’t seem to coexist particularly well, so outlining best annotation practices becomes obsolete when there a serious text and serious reader meet.

Reading through syntax in ‘Bartleby’

While completing our Bartleby audiobook, my attention was most drawn to how much more my understanding of the text was newly grounded in literal words, diction, and syntax, as opposed to imagery or theoretical and hypothetical ideas within the text.

It also forced me to wrestle with the central question, what is the “right” way to read?, in the outwardly expressed mode of audibly reading the text. This resulted in a much more tangible engagement and expression of that question. I found that in speaking the text I inhabited an area of tension where I was reading simultaneously closer and further than I previously had; some sentences, with challenging syntax, diction, and grammar required a more behavioral, practiced approach where I was focused on my adequate performance of what and how the text was written rather than on the meaning of the text. Other sentences pulled my focus to the opposite. The push and pull of this effect could alternate in each sentence:

Nothing so aggravates an earnest person as a passive resistance.

If the individual so resisted be of a not inhumane temper, and the resisting one perfectly harmless in his passivity; then, in the better moods of the former, he will endeavor charitably to construe to his imagination what proves impossible to be solved by his judgment.

Even so, for the most part, I regarded Bartleby and his ways.

Poor fellow! thought I, he means no mischief; it is plain he intends no insolence; his aspect sufficiently evinces that his eccentricities are involuntary.

He is useful to me. (pg 10, I think)

Overtime, while reading aloud, I appreciated the flow and rhythm resulting from this structure and became much more comfortable speaking through it. By the end of my recorded segment, I actually found myself needing to slow down, because I had adjusted to speedily moving through the sentences. This created a tension, however, when I would make a mistake and feel the frustration and destabilizing effect of having a break in the rhythm. This comfort, speed, and breakage also mirrored the development of the narrative and the anxieties and excitement of the narrator as he continued through his story of Bartleby, so my own flubs and pauses (the word ‘ignominiously’ was a serious obstacle for me) created an uncomfortable but also parallel breach in that rhythm that I had a hard time taking in stride as a productive reading tool.

The aspect I was most excited to hear in the completed project was the echo effect of many voices at each “I prefer not to,” and how it mimicked the disruptions of my reading in a more purposeful and controlled way, by creating a slowing but also confusing and obfuscating effect when the phrase appeared. It also gave a consistent tone throughout the narrative as we switched readers, and complicated my understanding of Bartleby as a single, rare, uncommon human to more of an indefinite type. The echoing also gave a ghostly effect which emphasized his death at the end and how the story is being told from a place of the narrator’s haunting memory of him.

A criticism I have for myself, however, is that with all the challenges and the time required to read out loud, I wish I could have spent the time recording multiple takes as I developed a strengthened sense of voice and character, plot, sub-themes, grasp on the language and syntax, etc.  While I was able to get a lot out of reading aloud as a personal close-reading exercise, I’m not positive that had a listener heard my voice alone without effects or without being framed by the other narrators in my group, that they would not grasp the issues that I found myself countering (and benefiting from) during my reading.

The Antique Audiobook; Capote on Vinyl

I approached finding my audiobook in the wild by thinking about the relationship of the author’s voice to a work of fiction. The comparison of the audible voice, versus the stylistic written voice seemed like it could have a pushing and pulling effects in the perception of a story. I immediately thought of Truman Capote, whose voice is famously distinct and whose style is distinctly rich in description which has the effect, to me of being equally tight and intimate, as it is ethnographic and isolated. I chose to find a recording of him reading any of his short stories, or an excerpt from a novel. I’ve read a lot of his work, but not recently, so I thought that any story would be a good example of this performance. I searched online for a recording of him reading his short story “A Christmas Memory,” and found a video on Youtube of the recording, which was originally published on vinyl in 1959. This them really set me out into the wild as I tried to instead find a physical copy of it to play on my record player at home. The album cost $60 on Amazon, and would not arrive until September 17th so that wouldn’t work; I called every record store in New York and notable ones outside (but nearby) the city with no luck. I called the New York Public Library who advised me on the proper search terms to locate it in their archives; they had 2 copies, available to listen to at the Library of Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

At the library I was hoping to be able to sit with a record player to have the physical interaction of setting up the record, flipping it to the B-side, etc. but they have it set up where they hook you up to a computer and a person “in the basement” (the librarian told me specifically they were in the basement), plays it on the record player down there. This added a new component to the physicality of this audio, because it added a new author and participant to the mix. I was not listening to the audiobook alone, but through the discernment and acuity of an incognito librarian in a basement somewhere under me. I was especially aware of this while waiting for the story to begin playing, and even more-so when I waited for this person—who played the roles of technician, co-listener with me, and co-author with Capote—to flip to the B side of the track to play the second half of the story. This interruption gave me a time that I would not have given for myself to contemplate the story so far, which would not have existed with a typical audiobook playing all the way through. It also made me cognizant of what control Capote would have had over where this break occurred: it was at the end of paragraph and sentence, but I wonder if he made the decision of which paragraph to flip the record on, how much space or leeway there was on each side of the track for him to have a choice in this decision or if it was purely dictated by the size of the sides. This was something I would have been interested to make an assessment on based on the appearance of the vinyl, but alas I was not allowed access to it.

As they would not give me the record, I had to make a special request to see the sleeve. This actually proved an instrumental tool in my reading of the audio book. The front of the sleeve had artwork by the artist Gray Foy, who I learned was a prominent and widely respected surrealist artist of the 20th century, while the middle and back of the sleeve has the entire story printed on it. Both of these visuals created a physical space upon which to navigate the story as I listened to it, creating a physical space much closer to a book than the typical audiobook.  But even the tangible flatness of a record sleeve gave a strange two-dimensional effect to a story which when traditionally printed is around 40 pages.


Listening to the audio presented the questions I expected to encounter entering the project: I was confronted with Capote’s unique sound and inflections, where he stumbled on words, missed (or skipped) sentences, changed his voice, even slightly, to match his conception of the characters. These affected the story by giving me a hyper-truthful understanding of his intentions of the story; however, it disrupted my reading (or, rather, listening) by giving me little room to impose my own interpretations. There was also symphonic music by Irving Joseph that sandwiched Capote’s reading of the text, a music that also imposed a mood and feeling onto my perception of the text. Ambient noise such as the fuzziness from the record player which came through on my head phones, the occasional quiet scratch and scrape, as well as the not-completely-noiseless pause when the record was flipped which was a silence filled with ultra-low, ambient bumps and “woosh” sounds. They made me aware of my own context, as well as the age and antiquated novelty of the record itself (this copy was 59 years old.) On a text that is all about the prevalence of memory, the participation with time and space in reading it, as well as in what most people of my generation would call an old-fashioned environment to listen to an audio book (the library).

I ended out finding that the typical questions of the effects of sound on a text in the audiobook was a lot less interesting to me than the odd physicality of the audiobook on vinyl. The record itself, which is made of its own language and modes of inscription and form, and the way they re-created the experience of the traditionally written text, next to the sleeve with the text written out invented a unique space and an unconventional audiobook experience. It reaffirmed a certain level of grounding in the technology and act of inscription onto a surface that texts, and this text especially, cannot seem to escape, and forced my participation with it.


Within and Without the Margins

The articles we read for today seem to come together under the shared basis that readings of literature are unified in the 21st century through collaboration, and through writing on top of/alongside them. It shifts our understanding of how the reading (as opposed to writing) side of the texts is examined when we transition for being witnesses of texts to acting, instead, as participants with them. I mentioned in class that I was interested in Liu’s evocation of “margins” when discussing DH close/distant reading practices, and how it evoked the image of writing on the text, of navigating websites, etc. He says:

“all the new decentralizing literary-critical approaches I mention above [are] skewed into a new social geometry by adding what can be generalized as a margin. In various ways, for example, deconstruction, cultural criticism, and the field of the history of the book defined marginal zones of literary activity that renegotiated the roles of literary sociality.”

In this sense, writing in the margin of a text becomes a genre in and of itself, where it is shaped both by the content and context of a text, but also by the presence of the margin itself. I am most interested though in how the thought of the “margin” or of “margins” affects our visualization of texts through DH as well.

On a basic level, interpreting texts on a screen, on a page, through audio, associate a clear understanding of how we look (or don’t) and interact with a text based on visual queues. The margin on a page is different than the margin created when using, but it is a margin nonetheless. We have a meta-experience of this while reading the Liu and Kirschenbaum pieces as the commentary is embedded alongside the text, implanting the discourse around the theory within the article itself. It does not ask permission to do this either; I found myself frustrated with the MLA annotation format—it would scroll back to the top of a paragraph and pull up comments alongside it if I attempted to highlight one sentence—whereas while the Debates in DH software wasn’t so aggressive in terms of implanting the commentary within the structure, it still forced visual queues into the reading to alert readers to the conversation, or to sentences which were given attention by previous readers. In one sense, this feels like a sort of cheat code by enabling efficient skimming, but it also gives the reader no choice but to concern herself with the conversations going on around the text.  It goes against the grain of digital ephemera—I’m thinking of the endless feeds on twitter and threads on reddit, or listings on amazon with thousands of reviews—which ultimately  get swept up and away as newer thoughts/posts send them further back and out of consciousness. But more than that, it disrupts the normal methodology of reading, where we have thoughts at the forefront of our minds, but also sub-thoughts that are unarticulated but shape our perception or internal feeling towards a text (this isn’t something I read, but is more so an observation for my own reading habits, which I assume other people experience too.) The presence of a margin complicates the nature of literary conversation, because our thoughts in this context cannot exist as ephemera but as an essential, or at the very least, un-ignorable component of the writing. While the intention of this effect is to broaden and promote discussion, it seems actually to do the opposite: by filling the margins for you, it prevents you from filling them for yourself.

In Hayles’ example of playing texts through facebook, or even in our own class, the example of finding audiobooks “in the wild” and doing a textual analysis of them, we are forced to rethink the visual queue of the margin (Hayles, 196-197). Audiobooks typically lack any visual structure, besides maybe a thumbnail image to accompany it if it is digital. While the facebook example has its own host of digital queues,  the margin is not on the sides but within the framework of the text: in memes it is on an image itself, in posts it is in the reaction buttons, it is in the search bar, and in the comment feeds—which within the last year have incorporated the ability to create visual sub-threads within a given comment in a comment section. By eliminating the visual image of a margin, there is an actual opportunity to host new discourse, because that discourse isn’t confined to a space with which it has a mutualistic dictation (the margin exists to be written in, but it is only written in chiefly because it is there.) This reshapes the methodology of reading a given text. This ties back to the idea of ephemera and the hyper-attention of Hayles’ writing, by eliminating the traditional space to interact with the text, but rather than pushing the margins out further and making them inaccessible, the margins are eliminated almost entirely, and we are forced to annotate directly within the text itself—it is the creation of new, technological margins and, thus, social margins that are more similar to those of salons and coffee houses of pre-21st century literary discourse (Bérubé, et. al. 423). In the long run, I wonder what this means for pedagogy and the future of close reading: would Hayles’ say that our margins are indicative of hyper- or deep-attention? Are margins both visually and analytically constrictive? If so, what do we do with them?