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2012 Highlights

Doris R. Bremm

16 May 2012

Doris Bremm

Doris Bremm is a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow at the Georgia Institute

of Technology. She is currently finishing her first book Representation Beyond Representation: Reading Paintings in Contemporary Narratives that considers contemporary literature about visual art as a new way to historicize postmodernism and the postmodern novel. Her essay “London's Museum Spaces in the Works of A.S. Byatt and Peter Ackroyd” will be included in a collection entitled Beyond the City: The Return of the ‘Real London’ in Contemporary British Fiction forthcoming from Continuum in 2012. In 2011, she served as a Lead Investigator for a Level 1 NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant on Space and Place in the Humanities: Teaching with Maps and Mapping Technologies.

Abstract: “Visualizing London:Using Digital Mapping Tools in the English Composition Classroom”

Many digital humanities projects such as Locating London's Past , London Low Life, and Map of Early Modern London focus on London’s past geography and how it correlates to the present layout. As a teacher and scholar of contemporary literature, however, I find it more productive to find ways in which we can use GIS tools to analyze and visualize subjective experiencesof city space as portrayed in novels.

In my teaching at Georgia Tech, I have developed assignments that ask students to use data visualization tools to create alternative timelines and maps to understand the important role space plays in understanding the characters and their experience of the city. This spatial approach to character analysis often results in morenuanced readings. In my second semester composition course “Mapping London” offered as a special section for Architecture and Civil Engineering majors, students created character analyses using tools such as Dipity, word clouds, Google maps, and Prezis.

For example, in reading Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, focusing on the characters’ subjective experience of London helps to show the significance of Elizabeth Dalloway’s excursion to the City by bus, especially when juxtaposed to her mother’s walks that are limited to the West End. For SeptimusWarren Smith, on the other hand, London becomes a liminal space. Even though he physically finds himself in Regent’s Park on a beautiful day, he can’t escape his very vivid memories of the war. Thus, I argue that visualizing the experienced space allows for more nuanced character analyses than focusing just on the geographical space represented in a novel.