“Sloppy is a beautiful reader of a newspaper”

Come on, Lorentzenites, explain this post title.

In class I mentioned quickly at the end that I had found a website from the University of Toronto that is using digital technology to analyze the voice(s) of The Waste Land.  The site has clear info about its approach, and you can see how the class identified the voices, can see the results of their computer algorithm (what?! crazy idea) and can even identify and name the voice(s) yourself.  It’s interesting to poke around on, but this last feature is my true interest and I’d love to see any of you who are interested have a go at it.  If you do it, annotate your own text also so you can share with us (I’m especially curious about the “naming” aspect).  Might be fun to do with a classmate or friend also.

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One Response to ““Sloppy is a beautiful reader of a newspaper””

  1. Jen says:

    I recognized the post title as a Dickens’ quote right away. Not sure where I’ve heard it before…most likely in a class with Lorentzen during a discussion about the theme of literacy. After reading the “About” section on the website, I saw that the quote is from Dickens’ novel, Our Mutual Friend. Also, the fact that Eliot originally considered titling the poem “He do the Police in Different Voices” (another portion of the same quote) sheds a lot of light on Eliot’s attention to voices in his own poem.

    This website was so insightful!! Recognizing the voice changes in the poem allowed me to see how Eliot integrated characteristics of drama into his poetry. In addition, it helped me to better follow the complex narrative structure at work within the poem. Before, I had been reading each of the poem’s sections as having its own voice or set of voices, but now I am beginning to understand the poem’s cohesion and seeing that the voices appear throughout all of Eliot’s sections. The class named voices that I could not quite pinpoint for myself, but I think it is important to note that their analysis of the voice identities, as well as the voice shifts, is not going to be the same as my perceptions of voice changes and that my perceptions will probably not be identical to anyone else’s in the class. I began to complete the section where you could have your own say and found it to be a challenging task. I guess the most important thing to remember is that there is really no right answer and no computer algorithm that could provide the truth about Eliot’s intentions. Without textual clues, Eliot makes the reader do her/his own work–he leaves a lot up for interpretation. This freedom to make the poem our own is probably the most “Terrible,” yet “Magnificent,” aspect of the poem.

    I would highly recommend checking this site out!