Joyce in the Digital Age

Sunday, October 1, 2017  10:00am - 4:30pm Butler Library, [email protected]

Joyce in the Digital Age
Conference Details

Sunday, October 1st, 2017, 10am-4:30pm
[email protected], 208B Butler Library, Columbia University

Organizer: Jonathan Reeve, [email protected]
Sponsors: Columbia University Department of English and Comparative Literature; Columbia University Dean of Humanities; The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities; Butler Library Digital Humanities.


Attendees, RSVP using this Google Form so that we can add your name to the list we give library security.


Advances in digital media have made possible textual technologies like hypertext, semantic markup, and crowdsourced annotation—technologies that hold powerful potential applications for scholarly editing. The works of James Joyce, as highly allusive and self-referential works of literary modernism, have often been described as proto-hypertexts. As such, they form excellent subjects for the applications of these emergent technologies. This single-day conference will present work from scholars that leverage these new digital techniques toward the creation of new editions, analyses, or visualizations of Joyce’s works. The keynote lecture will feature Hans Walter Gabler, Professor Emeritus of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, and editor of the most influential editions of Joyce’s novels Ulysses and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, who will present his recent work in visualizing the composition histories of the novels. A series of other talks will follow, by scholars working in computational approaches to Ulysses. In the afternoon, we will hold a workshop and hackathon, introducing participants to the new open critical editions of Portrait and Ulysses, and providing a brief introduction to textual editing with the markup language TEI XML (Text Encoding Initiative Extensible Markup Language). Participants will then be invited to contribute to the editions, by directly editing the text.

About the Editions

The Open-Source Critical Editions of James Joyce’s Ulysses and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man will be the focus of the afternoon hackathon. Since these works have only recently entered the public domain, the projects are six months and eighteen months old, respectively, and are in search of more contributors. They are open-source, open-access, community-owned, and democratically-edited critical editions. At the moment, they represent the work of about twelve scholars: Hans Walter Gabler, whose editions form the base of each text; Ronan Crowley (Universität Passau); Chris Forster (Syracuse U); Jonathan Reeve (Columbia U); and a number of undergraduate contributors from Sarah Cole’s Fall 2016 course James Joyceat Columbia University. The editions seek to combine the rigor of modern scholarly editing practices with the rich semantic markup of TEI XML and the collaborative abilities made possible with distributed version control systems. Using TEI XML, editors can declare not only the appearance of a segment of text, as with traditional markup, but its literary or linguistic meaning or function. Thus, the HTML markup for italics, <i>omphalos</i>, becomes <foreign xml:lang="grc-Latin">omphalos</foreign> in TEI XML, indicating that the contained word is italicized because it is a foreign word of Greek origin, written in the Latin script. TEI XML is a structured method of rich textual description that allows for computational analyses of the text that would otherwise not be possible. Dialogue attribution of the form<said who="Buck Mulligan">―Come up, Kinch!</said>, for instance, allows literary scholars to easily extract the language of each character, and analyze the statistical similarities among them. TEI XML also allows for the explicit linking of text and critical writing, so that it may be possible to create a hypertext edition of the text that link to the critical articles that discuss it. These tags and categories should not monolithic, however, since TEI XML provides mechanisms for encoding spectra of certainty, ambiguity, and divergent interpretations. The potential of this style of digital scholarly editing for research and pedagogy is immense, but remains largely unexplored in 20th Century English literary studies.



10am-11:30am: Presentations from:

Moacir P. de Sá Pereira (NYU) on Fabula and Sjužet in “Wandering Rocks”
Jonathan Reeve (Columbia), on statistical analyses of character voice in Ulysses
Emily Fuhrman, on visualizing the “Sirens” episode as a graphic score
Ronan Crowley (U Antwerp), on finding and categorizing (and tagging) quotation, allusion, and unmarked borrowing in Ulysses

11:30-12:30pm: Keynote address, Hans Walter Gabler: “Joyce in the Digital Age: Genetic Editing and Digital Genetic Editing.”

12-1:30pm: Break for lunch.

1:30-2:00pm: An introduction to the open critical editions of Portrait and Ulysses: features of the text, markup conventions, potential analyses.

2:00-2:30pm: An introduction to editing using TEI XML. A quick introduction to XML (tags, attributes), and then to TEI conventions, to prepare participants for editing and annotating the editions.

2:30-4:30pm: Hackathon: collaborative editing of Portrait and Ulysses editions.


  • Speaker

    Hans Walter Gabler

    Professor of English Literature and Editorial Scholarship

    Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

  • Speaker

    Moacir P. de Sá Pereira

    Faculty Fellow in the Department of English

    New York University

  • Speaker

    Jonathan Reeve

    Doctoral Candidate

    Columbia University

  • Speaker

    Ronan Crowley

    FWO [PEGASUS]² Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow

    University of Antwerp

  • Speaker

    Emily Fuhrman

    Data Visualization Designer and Developer

    Two Sigma


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