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Reading and Georeferencing Rhys

What underpins the data points in the z-axis maps?

Midway through reading Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight in Luxembourg Gardens I pause. I exhale. I look to the left to a bench where I sat with a friend the last time I was here. I envision the route we took winding out of the garden and onto the streets.

Midway through georeferencing Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight I pause. I stretch my arms and twist to the left and crack my back. I exhale. I open Google Maps in a new tab and search to verify the location of the street the protagonist and her stray companion drunkenly saunter down in need of a café. Read more

Moore in the Poetry Machine

I put Marianne Moore’s “Poetry” into modVers: I mashed enjambed lines into XML to render an elegant visualization. Daniel Carter’s current version of modVers arranges the variant parts of the poem into a tidy and navigable display as JavaScript and CSS proffer a pleasing aesthetic, encasing the text in neatly segmented and colour-coded witnesses for comparison and manipulation. The tool exhibits the poem with its iterations fanning out all at once. Selection of a single line bolds all comparable lines across texts, prompting a landscape-oriented reading of the versioned poem. The display accommodates simultaneously the 1919, 1924 and 1967 versions of “Poetry.” Viewing the three versions in tandem prompts a consideration of how this particular expression of the mutable text informs readings of the poem. With modVers, one can view and engage the poem as it diverges and dissolves across witnesses.

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These Fragments I Have Shored: Joyce @ UVic

Odyssey Press Edition of <em>Ulysses</em>, 1932. Courtesy: Special Collections @ UViC
Odyssey Press Edition of Ulysses, 1932. Courtesy: Special Collections @ UViC

This week I started a new regimen in Special Collections at the University of Victoria. As part of my work for the MVP, I am helping the library create a comprehensive listing of modernist material in Special Collections. I decided to start with a Library of Congress Classification string that I know quite well: PR6019 .O9….

I was immediately stunned by the Special Collections Joyce holdings, which include (but are not limited to) the first English (Shakespeare & Company)  and French (La Maison des Amis des Livres) codex editions, as well as the two-volume “definitive” Odyssey Press edition published in 1932, which, according to the bold type on the back cover, was “NOT TO BE INTRODUCED INTO THE BRITISH EMPIRE OR THE U.S.A” Read more

modVers: Lessons Learned from Building

I’m currently wrapping up a first round of work on a tool—currently being referred to as modVers—that creates an HTML interface for versioned texts encoded with TEI. To allow for flexible use, the tool is implemented as a jQuery plugin—a working prototype is available on GitHub, and there’s technical documentation there as well. Comments and questions to are always appreciated.

This point in the development process seemed like a good time to think about some broad lessons learned and future directions for work.

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Pirates and Poldy: Telemachiad + 1, Part 1

Let us not begin at the beginning, nor even at the archive. -J.D.

So we begin at a computer screen in the Electronic Texts and Cultures Lab, where I sit in a small room looking out into a conifer-filled courtyard. My colleague sits across from me attempting to prototype Jonathan Safran Foer’s The Tree of Codes for the digital environment.  I envy him his project. I am a scholar in search of an idea, and there is an anxiety that accompanies an untenured scholar who needs to perform in terms of research and publication.  The fear of failure accompanies each uneventful search in WorldCat and Google. But in DH we are beginning to embrace failure. As we adapt lab-models of research in the humanities, we must record each experiment so that we know a “thousand ways not to build a lightbulb,” until, that is, the lightbulb goes off over our head.

And then it happened.

For all the electricity that surrounds me, it was the nudge of human instinct that made me look. My current project is to create a prototype and archive for the first four episodes of James Joyce’s Ulysses (The Telemachiad + 1). My postdoctoral research at the Modernist Versions Project has been generously supported by Stephen Ross, Ray Siemens in the ETCL, as well as my colleagues and friends in the library’s Special Collections. My goal is to bring together each published version of Ulysses in one system. For my prototype, I am using the first two periodical versions published in the Little Review and the Egoist. 

That is, until I found the rare, pirated edition of Ulysses by Samuel Roth hidden in the archives at the University of Victoria. Read more

Versioning Tarr: First Results

The first results are now in for my work on versioning Tarr. And they’re fascinating.

I decided to begin by looking at a scene about versions, and indeed filled with the word “version.” It occurs near the middle of the novel (Part IV, Chapter 5 in the 1928 edition) and at a key moment. Bertha—her fiancé Tarr having somewhat equivocally broken up with her—is out for an evening with her friends when she is accosted in the street by the unstable Kreisler, who suddenly kisses her. Read more