Sunday, March 3, 2013

First Person Writing: A Brave New World

I’m not sure what I was expecting from the ebook, but there were some definite positives and negatives to the articles and organization of it. Starting with the positives, I enjoyed the personal nature of the ebook. The author of chapter 8 in particular used a great personal connection to her topic that helped me realize how invested she was in researching and developing that topic. She’s an editor, and she used that background to discuss the importance of diversity in the internet. Ashley Nelson in chapter 4 used her obvious interest in fan fiction to develop her topic of the evolution of secondary sources. Tying in with Josh’s post earlier today, I really felt that each author gained credibility in my eyes because I could tell they were so invested in their topics. Josh raised a valid point that scholarly articles won’t ever be replaced in academia, but ensuring that we research topics within our assigned teams that we are invested in will add that extra credibility to our own little project because our readers will be able to trust that we've become knowledgeable in that subject because of our interest in it. In won’t replace scholarly articles, but it will add another element and voice to the topic of Renaissance literature.

On the other hand, that credibility can be destroyed by focusing too much on our own personal experiences and not tying in enough to the source material. I think Dr. Burton’s article did a great job at balancing personal experiences with tie ins to Moby Dick and his topic of navigating the brave new world of learning that the internet is bringing about. We need to be careful that if we choose to write in first person (which I am definitely a fan of) that we don’t overuse it. In a way, being so personal in an academic ebook (of sorts) is a brave new world, one that I think we should definitely explore and experiment with. 


  1. I agree 100% with you. One of the chapters I read, Chapter 2 by Ben Wagner, was full of the same ideas. What was so great about it was how engaging it was and how the personal experiences he added really helped to demonstrate his point.

  2. I like the balanced approach you suggest here. You said "our readers will be able to trust that we've become knowledgeable in that subject because of our interest in it." I agree, but I also think that trust is predicated upon us being convincingly prepared on our topics, not just fans. That means going back to the sources (ad fontes) and demonstrating our enthusiasm with some rigor of analysis and representation of primary sources (as I hoped to do in my Moby Dick chapter).