By the Orlando Project

  1. 1. Susan Brown

    University of Alberta, English and Humanities Computing - University of Guelph

  2. 2. Isobel Grundy

    University of Alberta, University of Guelph

  3. 3. Patricia Clements

    University of Alberta

  4. 4. Renée Elio

    University of Alberta

  5. 5. Sharon Balazs

    University of Alberta

  6. 6. Rebecca Cameron

    University of Alberta

  7. 7. Dave Gomboc

    University of Alberta

  8. 8. Allen H. Renear

    Brown University, Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship - University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

  9. 9. Paula Rosinski

    Center for Online Humanities and Social Sciences - Michigan State University

Work text
This plain text was ingested for the purpose of full-text search, not to preserve original formatting or readability. For the most complete copy, refer to the original conference program.

The project of literary history is in large part the diachronic mapping of intertextuality, in the broad understanding of this and related terms--Kristeva’s is “transposition”, while Mikhail Bakhtin, on whom she draws, uses “dialogism”--to denote the extent to which all texts are produced and received dynamically as part of a rich and highly contested signifying field. The concept of intertextuality thus extends beyond the notion of source texts or influence to the question of how texts achieve meaning in an extensive set of processes that embody complex social relationships, past, present, and future.

The concept of intertextuality thus poses a challenge to the attempt to devise an SGML encoding scheme for literary history: it cannot be excluded, since it speaks to our fundamental concerns, but a complete taxonomy of intertextual processes is impossible, if we consider Bakhtin’s evocation: “The living utterance, having taken meaning and shape at a particular historical moment in a socially specific environment, cannot fail to brush up against thousands of living dialogic threads, woven by socio-ideological consciousness around the given object of utterance” (Dialogic 276). A broad-based, integrating literary history such as the Orlando Project cannot hope to track such intertextuality fully. Its value lies precisely in its selectivity.

This paper describes the project’s Intertextuality tag and discusses some of its preliminary results. This tag represents the collaborative thinking of scholars versed in women’s writing about what kinds of intertextual threads need to be given particular prominence within a history of women’s writing in the British Isles. Once designed, the tag was tested and revised, as part of a DTD devoted to critical discussion of individual writers’ careers and texts. It interacts (and can be used simultaneously) with a host of other tags that address other aspects of intertextuality broadly conceived, including tags for influences on and by a writer, tags for genre and generic issues, for different kinds of responses to texts, for the treatment of particular themes, topics, historical figures, places, and organizations that are all indices to the social web of textuality in which a text is embedded. The Intertextuality tag itself privileges the emphasis, common in critical applications of the term, of relationships between specific texts (cf. Clayton and Rothstein). So, although there are no required attributes or subelements to the Intertextuality tag, there is an optional attribute “Intertext” that defines fourteen kinds of intertextuality. Because gender is particularly germane to feminist literary history, an optional attribute can designate the sex of the author of the intertext. Some Intertextuality tags enclose statements about an author’s entire ouevre, or about some literary entity--Greek myth, for example, or fairy tales. In most cases, however, the Intertextuality tag demarcates a critical passage commenting on the way a writer’s text response to text by another writer, usually including the (tagged) name of the secondary author, and generally the (tagged) title of the intertext.

The present, incomplete state of our textbase yields nearly a thousand instances of the Intertextuality tag. As the paper will show, searches on specific attribute values for these can focus attention on certain categories of textual relationship and their significance for writing by women. Those employing the “Answer” attribute, for instance, construct collectively a long series of women replying to texts by others. The findings offered by our system are suggestive rather than definitive: all require further investigation and evaluation, since intertextuality cannot be exhaustively tracked and team members do not encode intertextuality identically. But they offer a useful departure point for consideration of intertextual relations in British women’s writing, as do many of the other critical leads offered by tags in the Orlando textbase.

The Orlando intertextuality tag can stand for our tagging enterprise as a whole insofar as it underscores that the tags we are devising do not necessarily denote something that inheres in texts in an objective sense. An intertextuality tag is an interpretive claim in itself; it points up the challenges to DTD design and implementation posed by encoding critical text for conceptual content. While all tagging may be understood as interpretive, all is not equally so. Many of the Orlando tags are radically interpretive and they freight our encoding with a different significance and pose different delivery challenges than less interpretive tags.

The complexity of the issues outlined here invites us to evaluate our own assumptions about the purposes of text encoding. In particular, we might consider the extent to which we privilege certain notions of rigour–associated with a consistency of tagging, but also with gendered notions of scientificity and discipline–and in so doing limit the endeavours we undertake or the results we value. Our and others’ research has found indexing and hypertext linking consistency impossible for a team to achieve (Butler et al). Consistency is feasible, indeed crucial, in some contexts, but as qualitative social scientists have argued in considering inter-rater reliability, less so in others (Armstrong et al). Bakhtin distinguishes between the “exact sciences which constitute a monologic form of knowledge” and those that are “differently scientific” because dialogic in their engagement with “an infinity of symbolic contextual meanings” (Speech 160-1). The Orlando Project’s tags attempt to represent electronically a new and still emerging body of knowledge. In both encoding and content the project is dialogic: an invitation to debate the history of women’s writing, along with new methods of creating that history.

Armstrong, David, et al, “The Place of Inter-Rater Reliability in Qualitative Research: An Empirical Study.” Sociology 31.3 (1997): 597-606.
Bakhtin, M.M. The Dialogic Imagination. Austen: U of Texas P, 1981.
---. Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Austin: U of Texas P, 1986.
Butler, Terry, and members of the Orlando Project. “Can a Team Tag Consistently? Experiences on the Orlando Project.” Markup Languages, forthcoming.
Clayton, Jay, and Eric Rothstein, ed. Influence and Intertextuality in Literary History. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1991.
Kristeva, Julia. Revolution in Poetic Language. New York: Columbia UP, 1984.

If this content appears in violation of your intellectual property rights, or you see errors or omissions, please reach out to Scott B. Weingart to discuss removing or amending the materials.

Conference Info

In review


Hosted at New York University

New York, NY, United States

July 13, 2001 - July 16, 2001

94 works by 167 authors indexed

Series: ACH/ICCH (21), ALLC/EADH (28), ACH/ALLC (13)

Organizers: ACH, ALLC