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Visualizing a Changing Nostromo

Conrad First provides an excellent digital archive of Conrad’s serialized fiction and features scholarship on Conrad’s work in periodicals. What follows is the first paragraph of and link to my article published by Conrad First, which highlights one of the first versioning projects conducted by the MVP:

Developments in the digital humanities continue to expand the possibilities for exploring the relationships between serial publications and their later novel editions by allowing for the collation and visualization of major revisions, detailed edits, and the trends of revisions that run within and between texts. Conrad’s Nostromo is ideally suited to this particular digital approach to genetic criticism because of its evolution from a serial publication in T.P.’s Weekly and later publications as two unique but related novel editions. Although Nostromo continues to receive much critical attention, the texts studied are usually composites of the 1904 Harper edition and the 1918 Dent edition, rather than the 1904 T.P.’s Weekly serial (Watts 98). However, as the primary genetic critic of Nostromo, Cedric Watts, has shown, significant changes between the editions of this text mean how we understand Nostromo is heavily dependent upon which edition is being studied. Because of the substantial and incremental revisions between all three editions, genetic critical approaches to Nostromo can elicit new understandings of the texts as individual and related entities….

For the rest of the article, and to see how I used the Mandala Browser to analyze the text, please visit Conrad First.

Hands-On Textuality

Last spring, I conducted research on the editorial history of Marcel Proust’s unfinished nineteenth century novel, Jean Santeuil. Encoding the differences between the first two published editions of the novel, and using a tool called modVers to express the differences between those two editorial efforts, I suggested that the task of working through these editorial processes engages Proust’s modernist conceptions of temporal and individual development. As I described in my previous post on Jean Santeuil, versioning Proust’s unfinished novel did not simply allow me to read Proust’s modernist technique; it also allowed me to actively work through the genesis of that technique. This hands-on, procedural experience of encoding Proust forced me to unpack Proust’s fragmented construction of narrative chronology. Read more

Samuel Roth and the Pirated Ulysses

The Modernist Versions Project is pleased to announce the availability of the first installment of Samuel Roth’s Two Worlds Monthly magazine in which was published James Joyce’s Ulysses. To our knowledge, this is the first time this important scholarly resource has been made freely accessible to the academic community.

Following the success of our “Year of Ulysses” initiative, during which we published the entire 1922 Shakespeare and Company edition of Ulysses, we will continue year two of our project by making available Roth’s edition of Ulysses as well as the two-volume 1932 Odyssey Press edition of Ulysses. Read more

MVP White Paper on Collation Tools (2011)

In 2011, the Modernist Versions Project needed to know what tools were being developed and used for collation. This paper is a survey of notable collation tools available for testing in 2011. It builds upon Hans Walter Gabler’s white paper, “Remarks on Collation,” published online in 2008, and accounts for collation tool development since Gabler’s survey. This paper is not a history of collation tools in the humanities. It is a survey and review of tools that are still being used for collation and visualization of collated texts. We review eight tools that have been developed specifically for textual collation, one tool developed for displaying the Text Encoding Initiative’s parallel segmentation in a web browser, and two version control systems.

PDF of White paper (5.2 MB)

Interdisciplinarity at MSA15

Last month, I made the trip from Victoria to Brighton for the fifteenth Modernist Studies Association conference. This was my second outing at MSA, after last year’s conference in Las Vegas. While I battled jet lag, joining my colleagues on the train

from Brighton to the University of Sussex, following the mod symbols across campus and rifling through our newspaper copies of the conference program, I was particularly struck by the diversity of this year’s conference. Although MSA is traditionally a North American phenomenon (see Katherine Ebury’s post here: http://tinyurl.com/mcwuj32 ), this year I had the pleasure of meeting fellow modernists coming from places as diverse as Greece, Japan, and Poland. And although the conference was still largely populated by Anglophones from either side of the Atlantic (most easily distinguished by how much sleep they were getting),  I found my conversations with colleagues from further away some of the most exciting and most memorable of the week. Read more

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