The Modernist Versions Project is launching its exciting work with what it calls “The Year of Ulysses” (or YoU). Over the course of the year, this group will make available a digital text of the 1922 Ulysses in both .txt and .pdf formats that will be freely available online. As each new installment is released, the MVP will also host a twitter chat about it and post podcast lectures from prominent Joyceans. In fact, Robert Spoo’s keynote address from this year’s International James Joyce Symposium is already available as is the text of “Telemachus.” To listen in on the conversation, look up the hashtag #yearofulysses.
Along with the digital edition of The Little Review created by the Modernist Journals Project and the digital scans of the Joyce notebooks and diaries now available at the National Library of Ireland, this is one of the first digital humanities projects in Joyce studies. The (uneven) expiration of copyright should open additional possibilities and the JJQ is eager to learn about any new initiatives in this area. Virtual maps, podcasts, data visualization, text mining other such techniques hold considerable promise, offering us a chance to rethink and even remap Joyce’s full body of work in innovative ways.
That Modernist Versions Project is to be admired, in particular, for its spirit of cooperation with other projects. As Joyce scholars, we need to work not just on building new scholarly, interpretive, and pedagogical tools, but on developing them in collaborative, standards-driven ways that will make it possible to share data, interconnect projects, and locate our work within the much larger fields of digital humanities and modernist studies. I look forward with considerable interest to watching the MVP’s efforts begin to unfold and am eager to seem them joined by other digital initiatives.