Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.


Big Modernism Goes Macro

Work on Big Modernism goes macro! In the past year, with the Modernist Versions Project and Compute Canada, we’ve been expanding the plain-text repository of modernist prose from thirty-two to eighty-six texts. We’ve added texts by key authors (Katherine Mansfield, Dorothy Richardson, and John Steinbeck, among others), as well as additional texts by the authors we had already included. While still unable to access many modernist texts online (I’ve written about this here), we are now able to experiment on a bigger canvas of literary modernism.

Using scripts that incorporate topic modelling software and Bayesian analysis algorithms, Compute Canada researcher Belaid Moa and I have constructed a multidimensional space in which to better understand the intricate relationships among the novels in our corpus. The scripts position texts according to their topical relevance, as I’ve explained in a previous post. With a larger data set, however, different patterns emerge (see the raw comparison data here). Read more

Open Modernisms Wins Grant

The Open Modernisms Anthology has been awarded $15,000 in grant funding by the BCcampus Open Textbook Project to produce a free, open-access teaching resource. This funding supplements funds already in place from the Modernist Studies Association ($1,000) and Douglas College in Vancouver ($3,500), as well as the MVP ($1,000).

In its first phase, the Open Modernisms Anthology aims to build and populate a site that will host PDF page images with backing corrected OCR text of modernist primary materials such as those typically found in anthologies and used in course packs. Users will be able to mix and match documents, re-arrange them, add their own notes, and output the results as a single PDF document for use as a course pack in the classroom.

In its second phase (being pursued concurrently), the OMA will convert text to Markdown and allow users to download materials in a variety of formats for print, digital presentation, text analysis, and other uses.

The site is Open-Source and the materials it hosts will be Open Access.

We would like to thank in particular the Modernist Studies Association, whose listserv ( was the form in which the idea first gained popular support. We would also like to thank David N. Wright for facilitating grant funding through Douglas College in Vancouver, and James Gifford for facilitating in-kind support through the Fairleigh Dickinson University in Vancouver, and the Provost’s SEED Grant funding.

We would also like to thank all those teachers of modernism around the world who told us about their anthology and course pack use, helping us to make the case that something like the Open Modernisms Anthology is needed. Many of them will be active participants in establishing the site, and we are eager to begin working together.

The team responsible for the Open Modernisms Anthology Builder includes Claire Battershill (University of Reading), Jim Benstead (University of Edinburgh), Chris Forster (Syracuse University), James Gifford (Fairleigh Dickinson University in Vancouver), Matt Huculak (University of Victoria), Andrew Pilsch (Arizona State University), Shawna Ross (Arizona State University), Stephen Ross (University of Victoria), and David N. Wright (Douglas College).

Arguing through Archival Objects: A Z-Axis Method for 3-D-Printed Interpretation

The following paper was delivered at the 2015 Modern Language Association conference and presents work developed by myself, Adèle Barclay, Stephen Ross, Jentery Sayers, Katie Tanigawa, Belaid Moa, and the INKE-MVP research team.


All too often, electronic mapping environments treat historical maps as images rather than artifacts. When we import archival maps into digital environments, they are usually displayed as a base map; this allows us to add data to the map by dropping base pins, annotations, scaling, zooming, and so on. However, these ways of handling geographic data function within the interface of the mapping environment, subjecting historical maps to contemporary ways of expressing and interacting with geography. Reproducing historical and literary maps within mapping environments such as Google Earth imposes GIS-specific understandings of space upon maps that predate GIS or understand space in other ways. Read more

MVP Publishes Dorothy Richardson’s The Tunnel & Pointed Roofs

The MVP is pleased to announce that it has published reading copies of Dorothy Richardson’s The Tunnel (1919) and Pointed Roofs (1915). Stephen Ross writes,

Dorothy Richardson is an absolutely foundational figure of literary modernism in English. Contrary to the heroic model of the “men of 1914” postulated by one of those men himself, Wyndham Lewis, Richardson in fact pioneered some of the experiments in narrative that would become hallmarks of modernism across the board. Only Marcel Proust, whose A la recherche du temps perdu provides a fine parallel to Richardson’s achievement, attempted something similar so early in the century.

We’ve got an exciting year ahead of us…check back soon for even more modernist editions.