ENGL 8203 -- Magazine Modernism: Digital Methods in Periodical Studies

ENGL 8203 -- Magazine Modernism: Digital Methods in Periodical Studies

Spring 2013


Week 1 (1/14) – Introduction

How should we read magazines? Introduction to the Modernist Journals Project (http://modjourn.org) and literary modernism.

Lab: Editing the course web site.


Week 2 (No Class – MLK Day)


Week 3 (1/28) – Topics in Early Modernism, 1900-1914

  • Sean Latham, “New Age Scholarship: The Work of Criticism in the Age of Digital Reproduction” (D)
  • Scholes & Wulfman, Ch. 2 “Modernity and the Rise of Modernism: A Review” (26-43)
  • Scholes & Wulfman, Ch. 6 “How to Study a Modern Magazine” (143-67)

Pick any magazine issue in the MJP and find 3 items before 1914 that contribute to one topic of interest to you (i.e. gender, war, art, politics, creating an American literary tradition, etc.). Any kind of piece is fair game, so feel absolutely free to consider covers, advertisements, graphical headers, poetry, stories, essays, letters to the editor, photographs, visual art – whatever you like. For each item, take down the following information and bring it to class for our timeline lab. You will need it!

  • Title
  • Author
  • Magazine
  • Volume & Issue number
  • Publication date
  • Keywords that describe the content

Due: Blog post (3 paragraphs) – Consider how the three items contribute to a discourse on your topic in the issue you’ve chosen (especially if they are from different authors). Be sure to make use of quotation or visual evidence from the text to back up your points, and include links to take your reader directly to the pieces in the MJP. If discussing any visual materials, be sure to embed the images directly into your post so your reader can see them.

Lab: Editing the timeline.


Week 4 (2/4) – BLAST

  • George Bornstein, “How to Read a Page” (D)
  • Scholes & Wulfman, Ch. 5 “Modernism’s Other: The Art of Advertising” (118-42)
  • Scholes & Wulfman, Ch. 4 “Modernism in the Magazines: The Case of Visual Art” (73-117)
  • Read through the Introduction to BLAST and its two issues at the MJP.

Due: Blog post (2 paragraphs) – Considering the two issues of BLAST, what similarities and differences do you notice in their use of visual art or bibliographic coding? What do you think accounts for these? Be sure to quote from the text or embed images when discussing visual material.


Week 5 (2/11) – WWI

  • Paul Peppis, “‘Surrounded by a multitude of other Blasts’: Vorticism and the Great war” (D)
  • Read through the October 1914 “Children’s Issue” of The Crisis, looking particularly at “War” by M.W.O (297). Read through the June 1918 “Soldiers Number” of The Crisis, paying special attention to the cover, the Editoral section (59-61), and Fenton Johnson’s “War Profiles” (65). We will discuss the items listed above, but take notes on something else you found interesting and be prepared to bring it up in class.

Due: Blog post (2 paragraphs) – Compare treatment of WWI in The Crisis and in BLAST. What similarities and differences do they have? Also, do you detect a shift in attitude toward the War in either magazine?


Week 6 (2/18) – WWI (con't)

Look on your own into magazine content between August 1914 and November 1918, and garner 3 items that you'll be responsible for discussing in class. We will then do another timeline activity to start talking more concretely about the use of such a tool for content discovery. You can look into a single magazine, multiple magazines, a single issue, or multiple issues --- whatever you like. The point is to follow some discourse of interest to you and think about its relation to the war in the magazine(s) you've chosen.

Suggested titles are:

British Little Magazines

  • Wheels
  • The Egoist
  • The New Age

American Little and Highbrow Magazines

  • Others
  • The Seven Arts
  • The Masses
  • The Little Review
  • Poetry
  • Scribner's

Remember that whether your magazine(s) are American or British will have an impact on how you interpret the content, since the U.S. did not officially enter the War until April 1917 (nor combat until 1918).

No blog assignment, but you may post voluntarily, if only to register the items you've picked.


Week 7 (2/25) – The Little Review & Emergence

  • Sean Latham, “Unpacking My Digital Library” (D)
  • Stephen Ramsay, “In Praise of Pattern” (D)
  • Read the September 1918 Little Review with an eye toward its discourse on death.

Lab: Network graphing. For prep, look at the methodology statements at Textexture:


Week 8 (3/4) – Voyant Tools: Distant Reading The Little Review corpus

Lab: Distant reading the Little Review corpus with Voyant Tools.


Week 9 (3/11) – Post-WWI

For this week’s meeting, simply browse or search in the MJP for content of interest dated December 1918 or later. Note at least 3 items and add them to the timeline.

Selections from transition magazine (D)

  • Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, "The Young European" (9-18)
  • James Joyce, "Continuation of a Work in Progress" (94-107) (Finnegans Wake)
  • The plates (108-12) {{see higher quality versions on the Readings page}}
  • Valery Larbaud, "Europe" (127-30)
  • Sidney Hunt, "w h i t e limp droop UP" & "design V" (134-35)
  • Rainer Maria Rilke, "Against the Age" (138)
  • Jean George Auriol, "The Occident" (153-59)
  • Robert Sage, "La Réalité" (160-63)
  • Elliot Paul, "The New Nihilism" (164-68)
  • Victor Llona, "Foreginers Writing in French" (169-74)
  • "Glossary" (181-85)

Also, here's a video of someone performing a segment of "The Ballad of Persse O'Reilly" from the May 1927 installment of Joyce's "Work in Progress" (Book I.ii of Finnegans Wake).

Due: Blog post (2 paragraphs) – What differences do you notice, if any, in these later modernist magazines from earlier content?




Week 11 (3/25) – The Waste Land

Read T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land (1922). Feel free to use your favorite book. If you don't own or don't wish to purchase a copy of the text, a good online edition exists here: http://www.bartleby.com/201/1.html.

Due: Blog post (2 paragraphs) -- What did you pick up on during this reading of The Waste Land that you hadn't noticed before? What did you find the most intriguing or incomprehensible?


Week 12 (4/1) – The Waste Land In Context

We will read The Waste Land as it appears in its original simultaneous magazine publication (both appeared during the same week in October 1922, though The Dial issue is dated November):

The Criterion (October 1922)

The Dial (November 1922)

Also take a look at the following digital humanities projects on The Waste Land

Due: Blog post (2 paragraphs) – What kinds of discourses does The Waste Land embody along with the other content in its original magazine publications? Are there appreciable differences between the Dial and Criterion publications that reflect different meanings in the poem? Be sure to add any items you discuss to the timeline as well.

Lab: Clustering and network analysis.


Week 13 (4/8) – Mapping The Waste Land

After reading the Moretti chapter on maps, think about something you'd like to map in The Waste Land. You will spend the lab making such a map.

Lab: Mapping literary texts.


Week 14 (4/15) – Large-Scale Corpus Analysis

Lab: Analyzing the MJP corpus.


Week 15 (4/22) – More Large-Scale Corpus Analysis

Lab: Continued analysis of the MJP corpus -- advanced use of Voyant Tools


Week 16 (4/29) -- Archival theory

  • Marta Werner and Paul Voss, “Intro: Toward a Poetics of the Archive” (D)
  • Michel Foucault, “Fantasia of the Library” (D)
  • Play around in the Stolen Time Archive (press the “Launch Project” button); read the Introduction and Author & Designer statements.