15.216 runcibles from love's cupboard

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Sun Sep 02 2001 - 05:39:54 EDT

  • Next message: by way of Willard McCarty: "15.217 runcible"

                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 216.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

       [1] From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance) (29)
             Subject: Runcibles

       [2] From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance) (15)
             Subject: What is Text? -- URL

             Date: Sun, 02 Sep 2001 10:18:08 +0100
             From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: Runcibles


    I was re-reading some material from the Renear-McGann exchange organzied a
    few years back by Susan Hockey (ACHALLC99 "What is Text?")
    [Unfortunately, the position statements no longer appear to be accessible
    on the WWW.]

    The statements with their nominalist/realist thematics bring to mind an
    entryfrom Mark Morton's _Cupboard Love: A Dictionary of Culinary
    Curiosities_ (Winnipeg: Bain and Cox, 1996).

    runcible spoon

    In 1971, Edward Lear, a Victorian artist and author, wrote a book of
    nonsense verse that included this passage from a poem call "The Owl and
    the Pussy-Cat": "They dined on mince, and slices of quince, which they are
    with a runcible spoon." Over the next twenty years, other runcible items
    appeared in Lear's poetry, including a runcible goose, a runcible cat, a
    runcible hat, a runcible wall, and one more runcible spoon. In all these
    poems, the meaning of the word _runcible_ is unknown: Lear invented it out
    of thin air simply because he liked the sound of it. In the early
    twentieth century, however, someone bestowed the word upon an actual piece
    of cutlery used to serve appetizers -- a spoon whose bowl ends in three
    curved prongs, the last of which has a cutting edge."


    I don't quite agree with Morton's characterization of invention out of
    thin air -- phonological systems make the air thick.

    I was wondering if in the history of humanities computing there have not
    been "runcible spoons". Any candidates for what is a type of ante-grail?

    Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
    per Interactivity ad Virtuality via Textuality

             Date: Sun, 02 Sep 2001 10:18:55 +0100
             From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: What is Text? -- URL


    In a previous message I expressed doubt as to the continuing accessibility
    of the documentation relating to an important exchange in the field of
    humanities computing. I have managed to find the set of documents and
    hope others will consult them. The URL:


    I am particulary intrigued as to what subscribers to Humanist might think
    about the claim that appears to be advanced by McGann at the time that
    markup models text as determinate hierarchy and not as recursive
    network. The distinction doesn't seem to hold since markup can provide a
    system of interlocking pointers.


    Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
    per Interactivity ad Virtuality via Textuality

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