EMiC is pleased to announce that video recordings of the plenary speakers and keynote presentation at last year’s “Exile’s Return” colloquium in Paris, France are now available online.
Chair: Dean Irvine (Dalhousie University/Yale University)
Chair: Hannah McGregor (University of Guelph)
Chair: Marta Dvorak (Sorbonne Nouvelle)
Keynote Presentation (~16:10:00)
Chair: Gregory Betts (Brock University)
For those who haven’t downloaded QuickTime, please click here. The videos are grouped with those from other conferences at La Sorbonne Nouvelle — just scroll down until you reach “Exile’s Return.”
Kailin Wright, Assistant Professor at St. Francis University, is working on a critical edition of Carroll Aikins’s play The God of Gods (1919). Kailin’s edition seeks to situate the play, which has been out of print since its first and only edition in 1927, within the field of Canadian literary modernism.
In order to take account of the different staging techniques in the play’s four productions (at Birmingham Theatre in 1919 and 1920, Hart House Theatre in 1927, and Everyman Theatre in 1931), Kailin researched the archival holdings both at Birmingham theatre — where she found photographs from the premiere production — and at Hart House theatre. In an interesting twist, Kailin discovered that the Hart House archives contained photographs of the Birmingham production directed by Sir Barry Jackson, suggesting that Jackson’s staging and directorial choices influenced the Toronto performances. Kailin has received written permission from the Sir Barry Jackson estate to publish the Birmingham production photos and archival findings, and she has also been in correspondence with the Carroll Aikins estate. Aikins’s granddaughter has provided oral permission to publish the play, and has offered to help with Kailin’s project through interviews or by allowing Kailin access to Aikins’s manuscripts and library.
The rare and out-of-print 1927 edition of The God of Gods (published in Canadian Plays from Hart House Theatre) serves as the copy text for Kailin’s edition because it best represents the play’s production in Canada. However, this text neglects the productions’ integral music accompaniment (the protagonist is a singer), and offers no critical introduction or textual notes. Kailin’s explanatory notes on the staging techniques will not only supplement the incomplete edition, but also facilitate classroom study of the play and help to foster international interest.
In addition to providing a more complete guide to The God of Gods, Kailin’s edition aims to recuperate the play as a modernist Canadian work featuring overt influences from European and American modernisms. So far, she has completed a draft of the script text with annotations on the Birmingham and Hart House production choices. Currently, Kailin is working on textual notes on literary echoes, including allusions to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy. Kailin has also researched and is in the process of drafting a critical introduction to her edition.
Kailin’s EMiC stipend has not only enabled her to embark on this important editorial project, but has also provided her with opportunities to share her research findings with fellow scholars, editors, and publishers. In 2010, she presented a paper on her project at EMiC’s Conference on Editorial Problems. A longer version of the conference paper, entitled “Bringing the Text to Life: Editing the Modernist Canadian Play The God of Gods,” will be published as a chapter in Editing Modernism: Textual Scholarship and New Media (edited by Dean Irvine, Matt Huculak, and Vanessa Lent; University of Toronto Press in 2013). Further, an editor from the University of Alberta Press approached Kailin about publishing her edition after EMiC’s Conference on Editorial Problems; Kailin is currently working on a book prospectus for her project.
Chris Doody and Melissa Dalgleish were among the six EMiC people (the others were Dean Irvine, Alan Stanley, Vanessa Lent, and Lee Skallerup Bessette) to attend the inaugural year of the Digital Humanities Winter Institute, held at the University of Maryland last week. They all had a great time and wished you were there, although they definitely got more sleep than they do at DHSI because you weren’t. Melissa and Chris wrote a brief introduction to their course at the end of last week, which you can find below.
MD: Chris and I enrolled in Humanities Programming at the inaugurual DHWI, which is wrapping up later today. I enrolled in the course in the hope that learning more about the programming side of digital humanities would be a useful complement to the learning I’ve already done about coding and theory at the DHSI and TEMiC. I’ve been working on learning Ruby since DHSI, but learning a new language on your own is difficult, and I was excited to have some hands-on (and hand-held) time with people who knew it well. And if nothing else, I was hoping that I would learn enough about programming to be able to talk to programmers without sounding like I knew nothing about what they do.
CD: We spent the week learning a variety of programming tools and functions, while working on a building a website, featuring a basic database. I was a little anxious about taking this course, as my only programming knowledge before I started this course was VERY basic html and css. Thankfully, the class was taught by two great teachers–Wayne Graham & Jeremy Boggs (Scholars’ Lab)–who took time to walk through all the steps slowly, explaining as they went, and ensuring that everyone was on the same page. Although I cannot say that I understood every single command that I was entering, I was able to follow the logic of the process as a whole.
MD: Wayne and Jeremy were smart to start with the basics: we spent Monday playing around with HTML and CSS, and as most people are pretty familiar with those, no one left on Monday feeling like their brains were broken. Or at least I didn’t. It helped that we spent at least an hour coming up with excessively (and hilariously) complicated ways to sort out the ordering of lunch. Tuesday was a different story–command line programming was extremely useful, and not too complicated, but once Ruby showed up, things got hard fast. Learning a new programming language is so similar to learning a new spoken language–not only is there a new syntax and grammar to learn, but a huge new vocabulary. And just like my proficiency in picking up new French has significantly diminished as I’ve gotten older, picking up Ruby is neither intuitive nor simple. We took a lot of breaks on Tuesday, because all of us needed a significant amount of time just to process.
CD: So what did we actually do? We started by learning basic Ruby programming vocabulary. After a few hours, we were able to get our computers to say “Hello” to us. After learning these basic functions, we began learning Rails. Our goal was to create a voting system out of a database. We installed some pre-built code into Rails that provided the basic outline of the database, after which we changed the code and CSS to personalize the appearance and function of the database. We were working both locally on our own systems, and then we pushed the website to the “cloud” by hosting the code on Heroku. We were also consistently backing up our code to the online code repository GitHub. Through this simple project, we were able to learn the basics of a large number of tools.
MD: By the end of the week–today–we’d actually made something both useful and nice looking. I’m pretty darn good at keeping the flows of code going between my computer, GitHub (where it’s saved), and Heroku (where it’s hosted and displayed). I’ve gotten a great schooling in best practice in terms of code curation and code sharing. I figured out some basic problems on my own, and I got to have some fun with design. My CSS is getting better all the time, and translating my vision of what a site could look like into code is pure pleasure (when I don’t do it wrong and screw things up). But perhaps most importantly, I’ve gained confidence. Programming isn’t something I need or want to do every day, at least not in my current digital humanities work, but I know that if I needed to do more, I could. It’s more likely that I’ll be called upon to translate my vision of something into terms that someone else doing the programming can act upon, and I’ve got more vocabulary and more knowledge to do that now. And on days when I’m looking for something to do during my downtime, Rails for Zombies is much more fun (and much less frustrating) than it was when I first started playing with it.
CD: In the future, this course would work well for anyone planning on taking the “Text Encoding Fundamentals and their Application” course at DHSI. The introduction to these basic programming functions would lend well to the jargon and formatting that will be learned at the TEI course.
If you want to check out what we were working on this week, you can find our sites here:
Nadine Fladd, an EMiC doctoral fellow at the University of Western Ontario, is in the midst of writing her dissertation. Her project, “Transnational Conversations: The New Yorker and Canadian Short Story Writers,” explores Canadian short-story writers’ relationships with their editors at The New Yorker magazine. Nadine focusses on the publication histories of stories by Morley Callaghan, Mavis Gallant, and Alice Munro in the esteemed American institution.
In delineating these authors’ relationships to editors, publishing institutions, and discourses of nationalism, Nadine hopes to reveal the implications of the changing relations of literary production between Canada and the United States throughout the twentieth century. In particular, she is interested in examining the development of the Canadian short story, and the influence Callaghan, Gallant, and Munro had both on the celebrated and geographically specific publication The New Yorker, and on American letters more generally.
The most difficult challenge Nadine has faced so far has been tracking down and accessing the archival materials necessary for the completion of her project. In order to complete her research, Nadine consulted archives in Toronto, Ottawa, New York, and Calgary. While she has enjoyed travelling to the various cities, her project would have moved more quickly — and been less expensive to complete — if she had been able to access the archival materials digitally from her home institution.
Having completed rough drafts of all of the chapters in her dissertation, Nadine is currently working on revisions so that she can submit her dissertation. Time seems to be her biggest obstacle at this point: right now, Nadine must schedule her revision work around her full teaching load and commuting between Laurentian University’s Barrie campus and Humber College in Toronto.
Over its development, and thanks in part to the influence of EMiC events such as the Exile’s Return Colloquium in Paris this past summer, Nadine has shifted the focus of her project. Originally, she envisioned her project as being concerned primarily with issues of nation and national identity in both Canada and the United States. As her archival research progressed, however, Nadine’s project became much more focussed on textual studies. Both her Munro and Callaghan chapters focus on issues of collaboration, reception, and revision more than they focus on nation and nationalism, which were her planned foci. Instead, Nadine provides close readings for various versions of the same stories and their (different) intended audiences. In the future, Nadine would like to see the various versions of these stories available side-by-side — perhaps in a digital format — so that other scholars and students can appreciate and interpret the differences between the iterations.