Editing Modernism in Canada


Archive for July, 2011

July 29, 2011

further to my previous post on indexing the Canadian Poetry Magazine

One of the challenges in  working with early 20th-century periodicals is the dearth of information about who published what, where. Even in this modern age of internet technology, too few journals and magazines have online indices or have even been scanned as .pdf images.

The Canadian Poetry Magazine was published between 1936 and 1963. It thus has a finite number of volumes (26) and so the activity of comprehensive indexing of the complete print-run should have appealed to some literary or bibliographic scholar sooner than now. But it didn’t. And so when we went to find early Canadian female poets, we ran across vague comments to the effect that an author had “contributed to Canadian Poetry…” Somewhere. As researchers on a project attempting to catalogue all women who published in Canada previous to 1950, we felt that the only way to be sure we found everyone was to go through each volume carefully, checking not only Tables of Contents, but advertisements and award announcements as well. It was a monumental task, but carefully and thoroughly performed by Kim Mulder, an MA student at SFU.

The resulting list includes early poetry by P. K. Page, Dorothy Livesay, Anne Marriott, Anne Wilkinson, Miriam Dworkin Waddington, and other well-known Canadian Modernist poets, as well as (and perhaps more interestingly) numerous poems by poets as yet unknown to the academic community. Our index terminates after volume 14 (1950), as the scope of our project ends at that date. Perhaps another graduate gtudent working in the later half of the 20th century can complete the index for the years 1951-1963.

Regardless of their incomplete temporal representation, we hope that these indices will contribute significantly to an increasing academic interest in the authors—well-known or obscure—who were publishing in the early 20th-century periodical press in Canada.

Karyn Huenemann

July 28, 2011

Index: Female Contributors to the Canadian Poetry Magazine, 1936-50

Kim Mulder, RA on the Canada’s Early Women Writers (CEWW) project at Simon Fraser University (a seed project for CWRC), has just published online the first result of her recent research: an “Index of Female Contributors to The Canadian Poetry Magazine, 1936-1950.” She is currently working on formatting her complete list of contributors, which will be posted within a few weeks.

The Index can be found on the CEWW website at http://ceww.wordpress.com/index-of-female-contributors-to-the-canadian-poetry-magazine-1936-1950/

We hope that these comprehensive indices will contribute significantly to an increasing academic interest in the authors—well-known or obscure—who were publishing in the early 20th-century periodical press in Canada.

Carole Gerson and Karyn Huenemann

July 21, 2011

L.M. Montgomery and Cultural Memory

Call for Proposals

L.M. Montgomery and Cultural Memory

University of Prince Edward Island, 21–24 June 2012

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” — The Golden Road (1913)

“and even if you are not Abegweit-born you will say, ‘Why … I have come home!’” — “Prince Edward Island” (1939)

For the tenth biennial conference hosted by the L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island, we invite scholars, writers, readers, and cultural producers of all kinds to consider the topic of L.M. Montgomery and cultural memory. A term that originated in the field of archaeology and that now resonates in a wide range of disciplines, cultural memory refers to the politics of remembering and forgetting, sometimes in opposition to official versions of the past and the present. Within textual studies, the term invites us to consider the ways in which the past, the present, and the future are remembered, recorded, and anticipated by members of a collective and encoded into text. As a result, cultural memory touches on a number of key concerns, including identity, belonging, citizenship, home, community, place, custom, religion, language, landscape, and the recovery and preservation of cultural ancestries.

But what versions of Prince Edward Island, of Canada, of the world do Montgomery’s work and its derivatives encourage readers to remember? How do gender and genre (not to mention religion and power) affect and shape Montgomery’s selective and strategic ways of remembering in her fiction and life writing? What acts of memory can be found in the depiction of writers, diarists, letter writers, oral storytellers, poets, and domestic artists in her fiction? What roles do domesticity, nature, conflict, and war play in the shaping and reshaping of cultural memory? To what extent do nostalgia and antimodernism drive Montgomery texts in print and on screen? How have these selective images of time and place been adapted to fit a range of reading publics all over the world?

The LMMI invites proposals for papers that will consider these issues in relation to Montgomery’s fiction, poetry, life writing, photographs, and scrapbooks, and the range of adaptations and spinoffs in the areas of film, television, theatre, tourism, and online communities. Proposals for workshops, exhibits, films, and performances are also welcomed. Proposals should clearly articulate the proposed paper’s argument and demonstrate familiarity with current scholarship in the field (please see http://lmmresearch.org/bibliography for an updated bibliography). For more information, please contact the program chair, Dr. Benjamin Lefebvre (ben@roomofbensown.net). Submit a proposal of 200-250 words, a biographical statement of 70 words, and a list of A/V requirements by 15 August 2011 by using our online form at the L.M. Montgomery Institute website at http://www.lmmontgomery.ca/. Since all proposals are vetted blind, they should include no identifying information.

July 16, 2011

EMiC Funds Five New Graduate Fellows, One Postdoc

For 2011-12, EMiC has awarded five one-year graduate-student stipends ($12-15K) and one two-year ($63K) postdoctoral fellowship. For more comprehensive descriptions of these projects, see the newly revamped Projects page on the EMiC website. For bios of the stipend and fellowship recipients, please visit the About Us page of the website.

Vanessa Lent
EMiC Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2012-14
University of Alberta
Research supervisor: Paul Hjartarson
Project: Wilfred Watson, Cockrow and the Gulls

In January 2012, Vanessa will be leaving her post as EMiC Project Administrator for her new position as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta. Her postdoctoral project proposes to engage in a much-needed reassessment of Wilfred Watson by creating a hybrid print/digital edition of Cockcrow and the Gulls (1962). This project will be nested within a larger scholarly initiative at the University of Alberta where Paul Hjartarson leads the joint digitization of the Wilfred Watson Fonds, held by the University of Alberta, and of the Sheila Watson Fonds, held by St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto. Her project adds to this work by initiating the digitization and analysis of Wilfred Watson’s dramatic works, a project that aligns with the first stage of the Wilfred Watson digitization initiative that runs from 1951 (when he was hired by as an English Professor by the U of A) to 1962, the year in which Cockcrow was mounted.

Kristin Fast
EMiC PhD Stipend, 2011-12
University of Alberta
Research supervisor: Paul Hjartarson
Project: Sheila Watson, A Genetic Study of Three Short Stories

This project is a genetic study of three short stories by Sheila Watson: “Brother Oedipus,” “The Black Farm,” and “Antigone.” The genetic study has a key role to play in the digital development of the Editing Sheila Watson and Editing Wilfred Watson projects underway at the University of Alberta. It will use the detailed knowledge of the archives built in the course of the genetic study as a driver for the digital implementation of the Watson projects online. This study is central to developing a nuanced understanding of the relationship between Sheila’s archive and Wilfred’s during this period. It will ensure that the EMiC UA team can design technological infrastructure to reflect the inter-related nature of these two archives; it will also guide design of an interface that makes these relationships visible to our users.

Melissa Dalgliesh
EMiC PhD Stipend, 2011-12
York University
Research supervisor: Stephen Cain
Project: The Complete Poems of Anne Wilkinson: A Digital Edition

The Complete Poems of Anne Wilkinson: A Digital Edition will be an “archive of editions” of Wilkinson’s poetry. Rather than attempting to supplant or replace the existing editions of Wilkinson’s work, my edition seeks to encompass them; in so doing, the digital Complete Poems will illuminate the composition, transmission, and reception history of Wilkinson’s poetry, an ongoing process of which the published editions are material manifestations. The digital edition will present Wilkinson’s complete published and unpublished poems in all of their variant forms as marked-up images. The digital format of the Complete Poems will also allow readers to compare multiple versions of the same text so that they can examine the evolution of each work, in all of its variant forms, over time; readers will be able to select which versions of the text they choose to compare, providing them with control over their reading experience and selection of material for analysis. Alongside the variant and bibliographic markup, the poems will also include links to extensive explanatory notes. These notes will cross-link to other related poems, and as the collection expands, to Wilkinson’s letters, journals, juvenilia, and prose.

Reilly Yeo
EMiC MA Stipend, 2011-12
University of British Columbia
Supervisor: Mary Chapman
Project: Sui Sin Far/Edith Eaton, Selected Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Journalism: A Digital Edition

This project will produce a digital edition of works by Sui Sin Far/Edith Eaton that will push the edges of this EMiC’s digital initiatives by integrating innovative approaches and tools from both inside and outside the academy. This digital edition of works by Sui Sin Far will have three primary goals: (1) bridge academic and public conversations about Canadian modernism and multicultural contributions to Canadian literature by experimenting with a “duplex” website, with one half targeted to academics and one half targeted to the interested public, connected through multiple opportunities for dialogue and exchange; (2) explore ways to innovate on the interface design for digital editions in order to allow the reader/user to have more authority in designing his or her reading experience; (3) bring the digital edition into the 21st century by making it a rich multimedia experience. This project will help EMiC be at the forefront of the movement to change readers’ relationships to texts through their digitization, to make reading Canadian literature an interactive, immersive experience that can rival other, more pop‐cultural online experiences that dominate the bulk of what Canadians now do online.

Leah Ellingwood
EMiC MA Stipend
University of Victoria
Project: Wyndham Lewis, Tarr Resources

This project will contribute to the mandate of increasing the accessibility of Wyndham Lewis-related texts to those interested in unravelling his role in modernism. It will generate a Tarr Resources website with annotations of works relating to Tarr that are included in the C.J. Fox Collection housed at University of Victoria’s Special Collections. The Tarr Resources site will provide a description of longer works related to Tarr from the archive, including different editions and collections of criticism. In addition to summarizing each of the collection’s Tarr resources, this project will also involve digitization of materials relating to Tarr in the UVic Wyndham Lewis collection and works that are not already digitally available elsewhere. The Tarr Resources site is part of UVic’s Modernist Versions Project (MVP), a digital processing framework that will produce digital critical editions with searchable databases of variants. The 1918 and 1928 editions of Tarr are the first texts this project will digitize, and the resultant MVP Tarr editions will be invaluable and powerful digital tools for scholars interested in comparative analysis. The resources website will supplement the MVP as a starting point for critical inquiries on Tarr.

Jana Millar Usiskin
EMiC MA Stipend
University of Victoria
Supervisor: Stephen Ross
Project: Audrey Alexandra Brown, Collected Poems: A Digital Edition

This project will make Audrey Alexandra Brown’s work more accessible to modernist scholars and the general public by converting the published and unpublished poems to digital form. She published five volumes of verse and a prose diary in the 1930s and 1940s and her poems were published in newspapers across Canada. She won the Lorne Pierce medal in 1944 for “distinguished contributions to Canadian literature” as well as awards from the Royal Society of Canada (1948) and Canadian Women’s Press Club (1936). Given Brown’s success in the 1930s and 1940s, surprisingly little critical work on her poetry has been done, while other female writers such as Dorothy Livesay, Anne Marriott, Louise Morey Bowman, P.K. Page and Edna Jacques have enjoyed renewed scholarly interest. Working closely with Brown’s archive in the University of Victoria Special Collections, this project will enhance the digital form of her work with hypertext links to contextualize it. It will explore the social and political conditions that allowed Brown to achieve relative success in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as the changes in those conditions that prevented her work from being recognized and discussed in subsequent academic discussion. In addition to the digitization of the poetry, this project will address three sets of questions. First, how did Brown see her own work in the context of the political and social conditions under which she wrote, and did changes in these conditions lead to Brown’s disappearance from literary publication? If so, how? Second, to what extent did Brown’s later poetry change with the Canadian literary landscape? Finally, how does her poetry submit to or transgress definitions of modernism and how can further study of her work contribute to the modernist project?

Congratulations to all of the award recipients. Many thanks to all of the students who submitted impressive application dossiers and supervisors who wrote letters of support for these highly competitive awards. We hope that prospective graduate fellows and postdocs will submit applications next year and that the website will provide more information on how graduate students at partner institutions can take advantage of EMiC’s training program.

Special thanks to the Fellowships and Stipends committee chair, Paul Hjartarson, and committee members, Alan Filewod and Neil Besner, for their work in adjudicating this year’s competition. We all look forward to hearing more about these projects at future EMiC events and reading about them on the EMiC community blog.

July 2, 2011

Two Steps Toward Digital Editions of Wyndham Lewis’s Canadian Works

Wyndham Lewis—the Canadian-born modernist painter, writer, critic, pamphleteer, etc.—is undergoing something of a renaissance at the moment. Two examples should suffice to make the point: Lewis’s work is the highlight of a major Vorticist exhibition at the Tate Britain this summer; and his first (and, to my mind, best) novel, Tarr, has recently been issued in the Oxford World’s Classics. That this renewed attention should be focused on his earliest work, however, is indicative of a lamentable tendency to concentrate on Lewis’s early activities as an avant-garde provocateur and to ignore a fascinating period of his later career—one of central interest to the study of Canadian modernism: the time he spent in Canada during the second world war.

Lewis spent the entirety of the period 1939-1945 in North America, living mostly in Toronto and Windsor. He published one book in Canada—Anglosaxony: A League That Works (Ryerson Press, 1941)—and planned another, which he published on his return to England, America and Cosmic Man (1948). Both books demonstrate an important shift in Lewis’s political thought, from the strongly-advocated nationalism of the early to mid thirties towards an equally adamant espousal of internationalism. In Anglosaxony, Lewis praises the “flexible,” “non-absolutist,” and “rootless” character of North American citizenship (29). He develops this in America and Cosmic Man, where he describes North America as “a laboratory for the manufacture of Cosmic Man” (201-2), the “perfectly eclectic, non-national, internationally-minded creature” (203) he takes as his ideal citizen.

Neither of these works has received the attention it deserves. The case is particularly acute for Anglosaxony, which Thomas Dilworth describes in The Talented Intruder as “virtually unobtainable” (159). The book was printed in a tiny edition in 1941, which sold so poorly that the majority of copies were pulped. Lewis produced a revised edition in 1941, in which he attempted to reflect the rapidly-changing political situation. Because of the poor sales of the first edition, however, it was never printed (the manuscript is available in PDF format, however, on the website of the Wyndham Lewis Society.)

It was with a view to remedying this situation that I attended DEMiC at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute in early June. I participated in the Text Encoding Fundamentals class, where my goals were (1) to learn the TEI encoding procedures by which I could make the first edition of Anglosaxony available in a digital edition and (2) to learn more advanced coding techniques that would allow for the production of an edition reflecting Lewis’s unpublished revisions to this first edition. With much help from my instructors and classmates, I now have the encoding knowledge that will eventually allow the reader of a digital Anglosaxony to view the text in its original 1941 edition, to see it as it would have appeared in a revised second edition, or to see a version that registers the differences between the two editions.

Anglosaxony and America and Cosmic Man demonstrate the extent to which Lewis was influenced by his period of residence in North America—their celebration of multiculturalism and internationalism result directly from is observations of life in Canada and the United States. But they do not register the enormous influence that Lewis exerted on Canada—in particular, on the development of Canadian Modernism. Scholarship is only beginning to explore the full scope of this influence. In The Talented Intruder, Thomas Dilworth provocatively claims, “[b]y crossing the Atlantic in 1939, Lewis brought Canada into the history of literary modernism” (157). In his forthcoming Avant-Garde Canadian Literature: The Early Manifestations, Gregory Betts of Brock University devotes a chapter to what he calls the “Canadian Vorticists,” a community of Lewis-inspired Canadian modernists that includes such influential figures as Marshall McLuhan, Sheila Watson, and Wilfred Watson.

I began to sketch the outlines of Lewis’s relationship with Canada in an article for The Walrus in October 2010. A few weeks ago—in late June—I pursued my research by presenting on an EMiC-sponsored panel devoted to Sheila Watson and Marshall McLuhan at the 2011 convention of the Media Ecology Association at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. This panel, organized by Paul Hjartarson and Kristin Fast of U of A, gave me an opportunity to advance my argument that Sheila Watson (who wrote her dissertation on Lewis) and Marshall McLuhan (a friend of Lewis’s in Windsor who drew heavily on Lewis’s work) should be regarded as Lewis’s “ideal readers”: that they were not merely influenced by Lewis, but were able to extract the best from his style and ideas, and thus to turn him into an influence on Canadian letters and society.

The conference also put me in touch with a network of scholars who are actively exploring the importance of Lewis’s Canadian works to the development of Canadian Modernism. A fascinating paper by Elena Lamberti of the University of Bologna discussed the links between Lewis’s America and Cosmic Man and McLuhan’s 1954 Counterblast (itself a response to Lewis’s 1914 Blast.) At another EMiC-sponsored panel on the relationship between McLuhan and Wilfred Watson (who once began a dramatic adaptation of Lewis’s The Apes of God), Gregory Betts of Brock dealt extensively with America and Cosmic Man and presented a number of illuminating connections with McLuhan’s ideas. In a post-conference workshop, I was able to discuss my work with Linda Morra of Bishop’s, Paul Tiessen of Wilfred Laurier, and Wayne DeFehr of the University of Alberta—the other presenters at the EMiC-sponsored panels—who provided me with numerous leads to pursue in my work on the influence of Lewis’s Canadian texts. I’m pleased to say that I will be collaborating with this group of scholars on a book that will explore the network of influence between Sheila Watson, Wilfred Watson, and Marshall McLuhan in the context of Canadian Modernism. I’m even more pleased to say that this group has understood the crucial role of Wyndham Lewis in this network, and that the book will contribute to promoting understanding of this fascinating relationship.

It was a wonderfully productive June, in which I took major steps in my research: first learning the fundamentals of text encoding at DEMiC that will allow me to make Anglosaxony available to the growing community of scholars interested in Lewis’s Canadian works; and second attending the EMiC-sponsored panels at the Media Ecology Association’s 2011 conference, and discussing my ideas with prominent members of this very community. I owe enormous thanks to the Editing Modernism in Canada project for both.

Adam Hammond, University of Toronto