Introduction: Refreshing Self-Reliance
by Samuel Hamilton
published December 2016
“Refreshing Self-Reliance” is a random quote generator, populated with pithy aphorisms from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 1841 essay “Self-Reliance.” When you hit the ↻ or “Refresh” button in your browser, a new statement from Emerson’s essay appears. Underneath this statement are two white hyperlinks (“Introduction” and “Non-Randomized Reflections”) and one smaller gray hyperlink (“Works Cited, Consulted, and Considered”). The “Introduction” hyperlink brings you to these introductory remarks to “Refreshing Self-Reliance,” while the “Non-Randomized Reflection” allows you to read “Refreshing Self-Reliance” in a more linear/narrative manner, i.e. “non-randomized,” and the “Works Cited, Consulted, and Considered” takes you to a MLA-formatted end-of-text citation page. All of this constitutes the “first layer” of “Refreshing Self-Reliance.”
In some of Emerson’s statements in the first layer, a key word or phrase serves as a hyperlink to a new page. These hyperlinks are blue, bolded, and underlined (unless you have already clicked on them, in which case they are purple, bolded, and underlined). The second layer is a collection of reflections -- the nature and purpose of which I will explain momentarily -- linked to words and phrases from the randomized “Self-Reliance.”
ij64 [Ian James]. “How to Make a Random Text Generator.” Tefltecher. Wordpress, 10 Sept. 2010. Web. 19 Apr. 2014. <http://tefltecher.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/random-text-generator/>.
Sam Hamilton is a doctoral candidate in the English Department at the University of Pittsburgh with a disciplinary focus on Composition Studies and Pedagogy. His research interests are digital/multimodal composition, research methods, and pedagogy, and 19th and 20th century American/African-American literary and rhetorical traditions. With a historical lens, Hamilton examines the pedagogical connections between distinct movements of self-education in the United States, and he considers potential applications of past practices within contemporary contexts.