Close Encounters in Close Reading

As a PhD candidate life can at times be stressful. Other times you have to do a double check just to be sure that this IS REALLY WHAT I DO WHEN I GO TO WORK. For the last week I have been reading/playing/listening/watching the texts I am using as a corpus for my thesis. I am developing my own method of ‘close reading’ digital media and in these sessions I have been reading for genre. Sometimes it feels like I play for a living.
Some of these seven texts I thought I was familiar with after almost three years of contact with. Others I believed I did not know so well. After close reading three of them now from “start” to “finish” (if there is such a thing) I have been surprised numerous times.
This morning I completed a round in M D Coverley’s Egypt: the Book of Going Forth by Day. It is the first time I have read it as a narrative without focusing on the mechanics of the text, but rather watching the tale build and spill and build again. Genres abound in the multimedia narrative with audio and visual contexts woven into the reading paths.
Today I started reading (once again) Twelve Blue by Michael Joyce. This piece has a style that maintains its narrative power and beauty still in its tenth year of existence (a classic perhaps). I intend to use it as a base for much of my discussions over the next three years of thesis construction. Twelve Blue hides it genres a little more deeply than Coverley’s Egypt but they nonetheless shine through, framing up the sprawling 69 links 96 lexia opus (clever that with the numbers).
The other world I have been living in this past week is Alleph by Sakab Bashir. This is a text of great complexity but relatively few written words. It spans almost (but not quite) an equal amount of historical time in its representations and genres as does Egypt. Alleph includes narrative elements from Sufi poetry, Rastafarian dub verse, Surrealism, 200 years of European painting, classical music and opera as an intermedial text.
I could write more but that is what my thesis is for. I will be presenting this chapter on May 31 in an Institution for Modern Languages English Literature Seminar. All are welcome.

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