Classes have started again. I finished up my core classes last semester so now I get to move on to the more interesting stuff that drew me into the MLIS program in the first place. This semester I’m taking 60616, The Special Library, and 60665, Rare Books. Both are fascinating topics, and there is a lot of overlap in the material, I think. I’m already getting myself confused about which class I’m reading what article for, but that’s okay. I received one of the textbooks for the Rare Books class, An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies and yeah, I got excited! I turned it over and read the back. I found this quote:
To a reader of Joyce’s Ulysses, it makes a difference whether one of Stephen Dedalus’s first thoughts is “No mother” (as in the printed version)or “No, mother!”(as in the manuscript). The scholarship surrounding such textual differences — and why this discipline should concern readers and literary scholars alike — is the focus of William Proctor Williams and Craig S. Abbott’s acclaimed handbook.
YES! Yes, it matters! It so matters. The original matters, the changes matter, the WHY matters! If only I’d realized that such a study, such a field, actually existed when I was going to college the first time. Well, maybe not. I was pretty oblivious to much of anything then, but I know that THIS, this stuff, has always been fascinating to me!
I’m often engaged in discussions with Christians much more fundamental than myself. They often quote chapter and verse to support certain arguments and I sometimes find it extremely frustrating. Their understanding of what they quote is often very literal and very English based. Since none of the Bible was originally written in English, they are very often completely wrong (in my opinion) in their interpretation. I’ve always been fascinated by trying to study the oldest possible texts, and how translating scripture from the language it was originally written in (even after generations of oral tradition in another language) with some understanding of the original language can so totally change the obvious meaning of a passage. Take all this along with the historical context that scriptures were written in, and you get such a different meaning than a surface reading of a modern English translation. Again, author intent must be considered, especially since the Gospels often contradict each other. FASCINATING STUFF!
Yeah, I guess I’m a little pumped up. This semester is incredibly heavy as far as reading goes. Every available moment will be used to keep caught up on the reading assignments. It’s going to be a challenge, but one I’m excited about. And somewhere in there I’m going to have to get myself into some kind of volunteer gig, hopefully with the Ohio Historical Society or Worthington Libraries. We’ll see. Swimming upstream again, but at least the water is fine, the sun is shining, and I’ve got an excellent cheering section.