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Text as Technology: Rethinking John Bryant’s “Fluid Text”

John Bryant, in his essay “Witness and Access: The Uses of the Fluid Text,” argues that virtually every literary work exists in multiple versions that are both materially and textually distinct. One major source of such variation is revision, whether by authors, collaborators, or editors. Bryant urges the critical community to witness writers’ revisions, by turning away from “a single, non-variant text” (26), to read instead “the text of the history of the book” (21). This is what Bryant calls the fluid text.

I am currently researching S.T. Coleridge’s process of revising and representing the radical poems of his youth, poems that mortified him as his political views developed. I share Bryant’s concerns, and I am only too ready to agree with him that revision is a worthwhile object of study.

However, “fluid text” is a odd term for describing the diachronic and plural existence of literary works. Read more

Diving the Douglas Goldring Fonds

Douglas Goldring; Courtesy of the University of Victoria Special Collections
Douglas Goldring; Courtesy of the University of Victoria Special Collections

The University of Victoria Special Collections houses the Douglas Goldring fonds.  Goldring was an important figure in modernist periodical culture: he  was the sub-editor of modernism’s first little magazine, The English Review (1908), edited by Ford Madox Hueffer*, and once Ford lost control of the Review in 1910, Goldring ran a little magazine called The Tramp, in which he published Wyndham Lewis and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. In 1914,  Goldring advised Lewis on the publication of BLAST, a year before founding his own publishing company, Selwyn and Blount (ODNB).

As a periodical scholar, I was excited to sift through Goldring’s records. Ford sent out a famous circular announcing the birth of the English Review in 1907. I know many scholars who have attempted unsuccessfully to locate this circular, and I had hoped that maybe the fires of history would have spared a copy of it in some folder labelled “miscellaneous” (these are my favourite folders to look through when working in the archives). Read more