Created on the open-source html platform Twine, this project examining Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons was presented at the SDSU Digital Humanities Initiative Showcase 2017. Using a lap-top and monitor, attendees were encouraged to examine it. This interactive showcase allowed my to present my work alongside a variety of digital-born scholarship underway and completed at SDSU.
This project understands Stein's feminist and queer writing practice as a resistance to linear thinking and dominant patriarchal traditions in poetry. With its focus on domestic objects and a narrative style that recursively circles about them, Tender Buttons deploys language in ways that violate how we have been taught to read and write in English.
Reading Stein means learning to read differently. Stein's language is challenging, and my experience of reading her work frequently involves processes of nonlinear hypertextual reading, flipping pages, going forward, and coming back rather than going cover to cover. Because of her unique style, reading Stein requires reading and re-reading sentences, moving in what feels like circles.
Writing about Stein also warrants learning to write differently. The project explores writing scholarship differently. In the project, the recursive patterns and nonlinear thinking of Tender Buttons is likened to hyperlinks. Stein’s work is approached as a proto-digital text, and this project mimics its hypertextuality in ways a print text could not. Links appear in-text in my analysis of Stein. These links connect discussions of major keywords I identify in my reading of Tender Buttons: direction, linear, network, index, orientation, and textile. This project welcomes readers and invites them to move around its argument about Tender Buttons as they see fit, conceding control of their reading. There is no straight linear essay to read but a networking of interrelated and linked sections organized around various concepts. Ideas and quotes within the analysis likewise include links to other pages inviting nonlinear associations and reading.
It’s simple but generally aesthetically pleasing design (in my opinion, more pleasing to look at than a standard essay) argues for non-traditional and digital-born forms of scholarship. Though amateur, it required learning the very basics of some coding languages and new methods of formatting and arrangement. It also includes original digital photographs that echo domesticity and capture something of the world in which I live. The project needs further revision, and I need further skills to make it accessible on this page in the future.