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The Connected ConditionRomanticism and the Dream of Communication$
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Yohei Igarashi

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781503610040

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9781503610040.001.0001

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Scribble-Scrabble Genius

Scribble-Scrabble Genius

Coleridge, Transcription, and the Shorthand Effect

(p.37) 1 Scribble-Scrabble Genius
The Connected Condition

Yohei Igarashi

Stanford University Press

Although Coleridge is mostly known for being a copious talker who was impossible to transcribe, this chapter recovers Coleridge’s role as transcriber, theorist of transcription practices, and inventor of his own idiosyncratic shorthand. Considering Coleridge’s time as a parliamentary reporter, his self-reflexive notebook entries, and the history of stenography, this chapter posits that Coleridge pursued an efficient writing system to record not speech but the flow of his own silent thoughts. Also discussing today’s optical character recognition software and the shorthand effect (when letters or words uncannily become illegible shapes, and non-linguistic shapes come to look like linguistic signs), this chapter culminates in a reading of the “signs” in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”

Keywords:   Samuel Taylor Coleridge, notebooks, note-taking, transcription, stenography, shorthand, optical character recognition, shorthand effect, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” symbol

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