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Most Valuable Publication? Versions and Critical Editions

The MVP began with an aim to understand the multiple states of modernist texts as an aid to interpretive work, as well as to develop tools and best practices for the scholarly community. This also included specifically pedagogical aims for student researchers (“players”) on the team and the post-secondary classroom environment more generally. Based on the copyright conditions in Canada that permit versioning a greater swath of modernist material than elsewhere, what of the digital classroom and extensible texts for learning environments in which students might take part in producing the work? What of the first year or survey classroom and textbooks demands in an increasingly mobile-oriented student population? In a more material sense, what too of students struggling under the expense of education or the limitations of print and bound courseware? In the long game, the students are our most valuable players, but the most valuable publication in the democratization of education may be the most available, the most mobile, the most engaged, and the most accessible – the Modernist Versions Project’s MVP may be the facilitator that brings modernism and versioning not to the classroom but to classrooms in the “Big Data” plural. Read more

The Versioning Machine for Audio: Introducing VM 5.0

Over the past year, the MVP team has been working on updates to the Versioning Machine. The Versioning Machine is a framework and an interface for displaying multiple versions of text encoded according to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines. While VM 4.0 had been updated to P5 compatibility, VM 5.0 is now HTML5 compatible too. The most significant outcome of this update is that the VM can now incorporate sound-based, image-based, and text-based versions as part of our understanding of the constellated “text” (in the Barthesian sense). VM 5.0 is still under development and will be released in the coming months with samples that demonstrate the new audio functionality. Tanya Clement, Martin Holmes and Susan Schreibman contributed to this writeup. Read more

MVP-Sponsored Bloomsday Lecture

Copyright: Gisele Freund, <a href="">IMEC PARIS</a>. Courtesy University of Victoria Special Collections
Copyright: Gisele Freund, IMEC PARIS. Courtesy University of Victoria Special Collections


Paris to Victoria: Exhibit of rare photos (PDF)

For the first time in Canada, British Columbians have an opportunity to view a rare collection of photographs of James Joyce in Paris taken in 1938 by the young Franco-German photographer Gisèle Freund.

According to UVic Joyce scholar Dr. J. Matthew Huculak, “James Joyce loved Paris—it was his spiritual home—but he absolutely hated being photographed. In 1938, Freund convinced Joyce to let her take a series of photographs that would become famous around the world. The result was the only colour photographs of Joyce ever taken – one which was chosen as the cover of Time Magazine in 1939.”

  • What: “Paris to Victoria: a Photographic Exhibition of Gisèle Freund’s Paris”
  • When: June 16 to July 1, Monday to Friday from 10:30 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Where: Room A003, McPherson Library Special Collections Reading Room, UVic

The exhibition is a joint project of the UVic Libraries, the Department of English, the Modernist Versions Project and the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab.

Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

UVic is accessible by sustainable travel options including transit and cycling. For those arriving by car, pay parking is in effect. Evening parking is $2.50. Parking info and campus maps:

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Media contacts:

  • Dr. J. Matthew Huculak (Department of English) at 250-217-0063 or
  • Susan Henderson (Library Communications) at 250-853-3612 or
  • Tara Sharpe (University Communications + Marketing) at 250-721-6248 or

Presenting Big Modernism

These are the slides from a Brown Bag Lecture given by Belaid Moa (Compute Canada) and myself at the University of Victoria, April 2014. In the presentation we addressed computer-assisted methods for analyzing modernist literature as Big Data and revealed our preliminary results. For a longer blog post see Making Models of Modernism.

Making Models of Modernism

Distribution of Modernist Topics
Distribution of Modernist Topics

This semester, with the Modernist Versions Project and the Maker Lab in the Humanities, Belaid Moa (Compute Canada) and I have been topic modelling modernist texts. In doing this work, we are hoping to identify heretofore unidentified patterns, both thematic and stylistic, across a (for now, admittedly small) corpus of modernist texts.

Topic modelling assumes authors create documents using collocated clusters of words. By working “backward,” computer algorithms sort the words from a set of pre-processed documents and generate lists of words that comprise these clusters. In our work, we are using the LDA (Latent Dirichlet Allocation) probabilistic model. This popular model operates on the Bayesian method of inference, a mathematical concept that works backward from an observed set of data to calculate the probability of certain conditions being in place in order to produce that set of data. In other words, it depends on a notion of causality and asks what circumstances need to be in place in order for certain results to occur. Read more