Ulysses

Voyant as a search tool

While playing with Voyant was fun, I did not find it particularly helpful in reading the Little Review corpus as a whole. Like Hope mentioned, the word cloud is a really nice feature, one that helps the reader get a sense of the overarching topics that pervade the corpus. Beyond that, though, I didn’t feel like the features gave me much insight as to the overall nature of the content of the magazine (although, this could certainly be a problem with the user and not the program).

Though maybe not the best for producing an overarching picture of a massive body of work, Voyant is really good for revealing which issues of the Little Review contain pieces on certain topics. Out of curiosity, I plugged “Ireland” into the word search. This produced two main peaks, one from the June/July 1916 issue, and one in the January 1920 issue. It turns out that the June/July 1916 issue contains an article titled “The Irish Revolutionists” by Irish poet Padraic Colum. In this article, Colum calls attention to the execution of three Irish poets who were also leaders of the Easter Rising. Colum equates their deaths to the death of WWI poet Rupert Brooke. The difference is in the fact that the British executed the Irish poets, while they mourn the loss of the poetry that Brooke would have produced. The January 1920 issue contains Episode XII of Ulysses, the episode that highlights an Irish nationalist in a pub. Unsurprisingly, the word Ireland comes up quite a bit in this issue.

Overall, my experience with Voyant has led me to believe that it is more useful in searching for specific items in a text than in painting an overall picture of the text.

Voyant as a searching tool

While playing with Voyant was fun, I did not find it particularly helpful in reading the Little Review corpus as a whole. Like Hope mentioned, the word cloud is a really nice feature, one that helps the reader get a sense of the overarching topics that pervade the corpus. Beyond that, though, I didn’t feel like the features gave me much insight as to the overall nature of the content of the magazine (although, this could certainly be a problem with the user and not the program).

Discourse on Censorship and Obscenity in The Egoist

I chose to resume my examination of discourses about censorship and obscenities from last week by looking into The Egoist, the sister magazine of The Little Review. I used the same graphing functions on Voyant Tools and attempted to graph the same series of words across the magazine's corpus: censorship, censor, censors, censored, obscene, obscenity, postal, free speech, espionage, objection, objections.

The data I input revealed the following Word Trends graph: 

Since part of my project focuses on the relationship between Ulysses and the suppression of The Little Review, I thought it would be interesting to look for any trends in discourse pertaining to censorship, obscenity, and suppression in the issues of The Egoist that were printed around the same time that The Egoist began serializing Ulysses in January of 1919.

From the relative frequency view of the Word Trends graph (shown), the words "censor," "obscene," "obscenity," "censorship," and "censors" only constitute a small spike in the graph for the January 1919 issue. The Keywords in Context widget shows the term in the context of the issue:

 Compared to the remarks about censorship printed in The Little Review, particularly in the May 1919 and June 1919 issues (described in one of my earlier blog posts), this antipathy toward the censor is muted. 

One slightly larger, albeit still small, spike occurs for the last issue of The Egoist from December 1919. This issue  contains the tenth episode of Ulysses, and the Keywords in Context widget reveals that the word "censor" was used in the context of something written about Joyce's work: 

A look at the actual December 1919 issue of The Egoist on the Modernist Journals project shows that the text containing the word "censor" is part of Harriet Shaw Weaver's "Notice to Readers,"  which explains that The Egoist will not be printed during 1920 and that a publisher has been located who is willing to "make an unmutilated copy" of Ulysses in book form (70).

The Waste Land in Context

Mina Loy’s “Brancusi’s Golden Bird” and Valery Larbaud’s “The ‘Ulysses’ of James Joyce” from the November 1922 issue of The Dial and the October 1922 issue of The Criterion – respectively – embody a similar discourse to Eliot’s The Waste Land in their focus on generic experimentation and emphasis on interaction.  Eliot’s work, by including footnotes written by the poet, embodies generic experimentation as The Waste Land is thus composed of the interaction between poem and prose descriptions.  Loy’s poem, by focusing on “The immaculate / conception / of the inaudible bird” (508),  alludes to generic experimentation through the simultaneous descriptive and expository depictions of the sculpture.  This experimentation inherent in these dual approaches to the sculpture is further compounded by the picture of the sculpture that immediately follows the poem, which undermines the autonomy of the poem as the reader/viewer is forced with the juxtaposition of two works of different genres that mutually inform each other.  Larbaud’s essay from The Criterion praises Joyce’s inclusion of theological, philosophic, and scientific discourse within his narrative that challenges notions of the novel.  In spite of this experimentation, Larbaud asserts that “[t]hese pieces, which we might treat as digressions, or rather as appendices, essays composed outside of the book and artificially interpolated into all of the ‘tales,’ … [form] none the less an organism, a book” (97).  Much like The Waste Land and Loy’s “Brancusi’s Golden Bird,” Larbaud’s appraisal of Joyce’s work finds its locus in his ability to challenge conceived notions of the genre, what Loy refers to as the “the Alpha and Omega / of Form” (507).

Along with this emphasis on experimentation, the pieces of Loy and Larbaud also contribute to a discourse surrounding the necessity of interaction.  In the simultaneous presence of dichotomous entities (past/present, life/death, poetry/prose, East/West, etc.), The Waste Land calls direct attention to the manner through which these are not binaries, but rather in a state of interaction as a means through which to conceive of a post-WWI world.  Loy focuses the readers attention on this interaction in her explication that  “This gong / of polished hyperaesthesia / shrills with brass / as the aggressive light / strikes / its significance” (507-8).  For Loy, meaning arises from Brancusi’s sculpture in its interaction with its physical environment, which is embodied in the light in this depiction.  This emphasis on interaction is also present in the bibliographic coding of the poem, which – as previously mentioned – juxtaposes the poem with a photograph of its subject.  Larbaud also contributes to the discourse regarding interaction when she asserts that “The reader who approaches [Ulysses] without the Odyssey clearly in mind will be thrown into dismay.  I refer, of course, to the cultivated reader” (93).  As with Loy, Larbaud makes note of two interactions – that of Joyce’s text with Homer’s Odyssey and an ideal reader with the text – that are essential in the comprehension of the text.

A significant distinction in the simultaneous publications of The Waste Land is the volume number of the respective magazines, which creates a variance in the positioning of Eliot’s text.  Created by the American Transcendentalists, The Dial is oriented as actively engaging with the discourse surrounding the foundation of the American literary tradition.  Published in The Dial’s seventy-third volume, The Waste Land emerges as a continuation of this American literary tradition.  Unlike this connection to a broader arch of national literary tradition, the simultaneous publication of The Waste Land in the first issue of The Criterion denotes a connection of the work with an emerging literary tradition.  This play between established and emerging literary traditions is particularly interesting when though of in regards to notions of modernism as Transatlantic.