Editing Modernism in Canada


February 19, 2013

The Modernist Versions Project

Three-quarters of the way through the Year of Ulysses, the Modernist Versions Project (MVP) is going strong. With the support of partners such as EMiC, the MVP is working on versioning a selection of modernist texts, as well as providing content, hosting chats, and featuring lectures for the Year of Ulysses.

The MVP is a large, collaborative project involving scholars and digital humanists from Canada, Ireland, and the United States, which aims to enable new critical insights into modernist texts that are difficult without digital or computational approaches. Right now, MVP scholars are working on several concurrent projects, including work on James Joyce’s Ulysses, Wyndham Lewis’s Tarr, and Joseph Conrad’s Nostromo, and plans for versioning other texts are in the works for the near future.

Perhaps the most visible and accessible aspect of the MVP at this time is the Year of Ulysses project, which launched on June 15, 2012 with a photo contest. The Year of Ulysses operates on a recurring three-week cycle of digital text releases, Twitter chats, and lectures presented by internationally renowned Joyceans. Every three weeks, the MVP posts one of 18 episodes of the 1922 first edition of Ulysses — which has been digitized by Matthew Kochis and Patrick Belk at the University of Tulsa — on the MVP website. Each text is prefaced with a brief synopsis to situate the reader, and is presented in PDF — a scanned version of the original — and searchable TXT format. This coming Friday will see the release of “Oxen of the Sun,” Episode 14 of Part II of the novel. Check out the MVP’s most recent text release, “Nausicaa.”

Second in the cycle comes the Twitter chat, which is moderated by a Joycean with a particular affinity for that episode. All Joyce fans — from casual readers to graduate students to international experts — are invited to participate in the chats. So far, in addition to seeing participants from Canada, the United States, Ireland, and the UK, the chats have seen participants from as far away as continental Europe and Fiji. Tweeters and viewers can follow the chats using the hashtag “yearofulysses” (#yearofulysses). Other information pertaining to the Year of Ulysses is also featured on Twitter using that same hashtag. Since June 2012, the #yearofulysses tag has amassed over 3 000 tweets, all of which are being archived for future use.

The final element of the Year of Ulysses cycle is the lecture or podcast. Since June 2012, the MVP has posted lectures from Joyce scholars who include Robert Spoo (University of Tulsa), Terence Killeen (James Joyce Centre, Dublin), and Hans Walter Gabler (Munich University). For more information on past and future MVP lectures, please visit the Year of Ulysses schedule.

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