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Proust at the Edges of Modernity

Proust’s modernism is the result of an experiment.

Nearly a quarter of a century after Proust’s passing in 1922, his niece opened a cabinet in her home to reveal stacks of notebooks and piles of torn draft pages that had been hidden away since the close of the nineteenth century. The mass of archival material, generated more than two decades before the appearance of Du Côté de Chez Swann, composed the manuscript pages of Proust’s nineteenth century novel—a novel Proust never finished.

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Laura Hensch to Moderate Final Twitter Chat – “Penelope”

Laura Hensch, Moderator for “Penelope” Twitter Chat
Laura Hensch, Moderator for “Penelope” Twitter Chat

On Friday, May 24 at 1 pm Eastern / 10 am Pacific, Laura Hensch will moderate the MVP’s final YoU Twitter chat, focusing specifically on “Penelope.” The hashtag for the Twitter chat is #yearofulysses.

Laura Hensch received her Bachelor’s degree from Harvard, where she wrote her junior and senior papers on Finnegans Wake. In May 2012, she completed her Master’s degree at the University of Tulsa with a final annotated bibliography project on minor Joyce biographies, Joyce’s Jesuit curriculum, and Joyce’s pre-Trieste personal reading. At the 2011 International James Joyce Symposium, Laura presented “Tesseracts and Proteiform Polyhedrons: James Joyce’s Multi-dimensional Symmetry.”

She will be starting her PhD program at SUNY Buffalo next fall.

email: | twitter: @plurabelle

Alison Lacivita to Moderate Fifteenth YoU Twitter Chat

On Friday, May 3 at 4 pm EDT / 1 pm PST, Alison Lacivita will moderate the MVP’s fifteenth YoU Twitter chat, focussing specifically on “Ithaca.” The hashtag for the Twitter chat is #yearofulysses.

Alison Lacivita earned her PhD from Trinity College Dublin in 2012. Her dissertation was an ecocritical reading of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. She currently lives in Villars-sur-Ollon, in the Swiss Alps, and will be beginning as Assistant Professor of Modern British Literature at the University of Southern Mississippi in the fall.

@alisonlacivita |

The Long Now of Ulysses: Curating Literature after the Internet

From the Gisèle Freund Collection, University of Victoria Special Collections in the McPherson Library.
From the Gisèle Freund Collection, University of Victoria Special Collections in the McPherson Library.

This spring and summer, Leopold and Molly Bloom, Stephen Dedalus, Buck Mulligan, Blazes Boylan and the whole Ulysses entourage will be featured in student-curated exhibit called “The Long Now of Ulysses” in the Maltwood Gallery of the McPherson Library at the University of Victoria. The exhibit has been driven by the belief that Ulysses is finally a novel of the everyday. It is co-curated by the graduate students of Jentery Sayers’ “Introduction to Digital Humanities” and Stephen Ross’ “The Modernist Novel” courses in the English department at the University of Victoria, with support from the Maker Lab in the Humanities at UVic. The students developed the exhibit methodologies, selected content, and produced rationales, while the faculty handled logistics and provided guidance. Read more

MVP turns 6 months old!

When human children reach 6 months of age, they become more interactive, more “human,” more mobile. It’s the start of what some call the “golden age” of infancy — 6-18 months — when children learn to walk, maybe even to talk. Of course, there’s lots of falling in there, and plenty of what it appears people now refer to as “productive failure.” The MVP is not far off that timeline.

A little over six months ago we launched our website and the Year of Ulysses initiative, began devising and testing workflows for digital collation and versioning of modernist texts, reviving the Versioning Machine for a new age of vitality, preparing key works for digital presentation, and talking talking talking about our work. Here’s a quick run-down of all we’ve been up to in the last half year, and some of what we hope to be up to in the coming months:

Conferences presented at/accepted to: 


  • CSDH – “Engaging the Edges of Digital Literary Studies through the TEI” (Millar Usiskin, Tanigawa)
  • CSDH – “A Method for Scaled Interpretation” (Christie, Barclay, Sayers, Ross, Tanigawa, Huculak)
  • CSDH – “A Linked Data Approach to the Study of Global Modernism” (Sayers, Ross, Barclay, Christie)
  • CSDH – “An Experimental Approach to Quantitative Literary Interpretation and Reading the Crowd Reading” (Ross, Tanigawa, Millar Usiskin)
  • MLA – “Linked Open Data for Modernist Studies” (Sayers)
  • HASTAC – “Problematizing Literature with Digital Methods: He Do the Police in Different Voices and The Brown Stocking” (Hammond)
  • HASTAC – “The Key to All Ontologies?: The Long Now of Linked Data” (Barclay, Sayers, Susan Brown)
  • HASTAC – “Gaming the Edition: Play, Collaboration, and Shared Tacit Knowledge in the Editorial Process” (Belojevic, Christie, Sayers)
  • HASTAC - “Empty Tags and Dis-contents: Strategies for Challenging Markup Teleologies” (Millar Usiskin, Tanigawa) 
  • DH – “Versioning Texts and Concepts” (Huculak, Ross, Schreibman, Clement, Sayers, Gifford, Irvine)
  • ACLA – “He Do the Police in Different Voices: Looking for Voices in T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land” Seminar: “Vocal Positioning: Mapping the Fictional Voice.” (Hammond)
  • CLfL-NAACL – “A Tale of Two Cultures: Bringing Literary Analysis and Computational Linguistics Together” (Hammond, Julian Brooke, Graeme Hirst)
  • CLfL-NAACL – “Clustering Voices in The Waste Land” (Julian Brooke, Graeme Hirst, Hammond)
  • ACCUTE – “‘Close to her construct I pace the line:’ Marianne Moore as Modernist Icon in Robert Duncan’s ‘The Maiden’” (Barclay)


  • MSA - “Reading Gaps, Tracing Erasures, Attending Différance : Introducing the Modernist Versions Project.” Modernist Studies Association Conference, Las Vegas (October 2012). (Clement)
  • MSA -  Making Spectacles of Ourselves: Modernism and Social Media.” The Modernist Studies Association, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2012. (Clement and Huculak)
  • Humanities Research Forum (Athabasca University) – “Digital Humanities and Personal Modernisms” (Gifford) 


Papers submitted: 

  • Tanigawa, Katie. “Using the Mandala Browser for Algorithmic Criticism in Nostromo.” Forthcoming collection on Mandala, ed. Stan Ruecker.
  • Tanigawa, Katie. “Visualizing a Changing Nostromo.” Conrad First. Web.


Courses Planned/Taught:


  • Digital Editions (DHSI) – Dean Irvine, Alan Stanley, and Tanya Clement
  • Versioning in a Digital Environment (DHSI) – Stephen Ross and J. Matthew Huculak
  • Digital Ulysses (Master Class @UVic) – Stephen Ross and Hans Walter Gabler


Workshops given/planned: 


  • Data Visualization using Mandala (Hello World/DHSI) – Katie Tanigawa
  • Digital Versioning (MSA pre-conference workshop scheduled for August 2013) – Stephen Ross and J. Matthew Huculak


  • Digital Collation (Hello World/DHSI) – Stephen Ross and J. Matthew Huculak
  • Data Modeling (Hello World/DHSI) – Jana Millar Usiskin
  • Ulysses Versioned – Brown Bag Lunch Talk/ETCL) – J. Matthew Huculak


Texts digitized: 

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890 and 1891) both by Gifford
  • Dubliners (by Jarom MacDonald and his class at BYU)
  • Nostromo (Harper’s edition 1904 near complete OCR and TEI Lite)
  • Nostromo (TP’s serial edition 1904 near complete OCR)
  • Marianne Moore’s “Poetry” by Barclay
  • The Tunnel by Ross and Thomson
  • Pointed Roofs by Ross and Thomson
  • Tarr (1918 Egoist Press and 1928, parts of 1918 Knopf and 1951, some OCR) by Hammond
  • Tono-Bungay (1909 US, English Review) Huculak
  • Ulysses Episode 13 (Little Review & 1922) Huculak
  • Madeleine scene from La Recherche du Temps Perdu (1919 and 1954) Christie
  • Penmarch fragment from Jean Santeuil (1952 and 1971) Christie


Methods tested: 

  • TXT-JUXTA-TEI-Mandala (Tanigawa)
  • Github (Barclay)
  • TEI-VM (Barclay)
  • TEI-Mandala (Tanigawa)
  • TXT-JUXTA-TEI-Mandala 2 (Christie)
  • Collatex (Carter)
  • TXT-JUXTA-TEI-VM (Christie)


Tools Developed: 

Versioning Machine JQuery tool (Carter&Clement)


Grants Received: 


  • Partnership Development Grant – $200,000
  • Internal Research Grant (Ross) – $7,000
  • Internal Research Grant (Sayers) – $7,000

Grants Applied for: 


  • Internal Research Grant (Ross) – $7,000
  • Internal Research Grant (Sayers) – $7,000


  • SSHRC Insight Grant (Ross) – $362,000
  • NEH DH Start-Up Grant (Clement) – $60,000
  • Provost’s Seed Grant (Gifford) – $5,000
  • College Research and Creative Activity Grant (Gifford) – $3,000


Materials Produced: 

  • Project Charter
  • Project Roadmap
  • Project Initiatives
  • TXT and PDF of 15/18 episodes of 1922 Ulysses online
  • 15 Twitter chats
  • 15 Video presentations posted online

Master Class on The Digital Ulysses with Hans Walter Gabler

Offered for credit as English 561 at UVic, this course is also open to any interested scholars, students, or lay-persons. Contact Stephen Ross at for more information.

The course can be — ideally is — coupled with the Digital Humanities Summer Institute course on “Versioning and Collation in Digital Environments” (seminar #18) Read more