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Thursday Review

Posted in DH Blog

Every Thursday, we’ll “review” a text, website, tool, blog, or Twitter feed that may be of interest to humanities scholars and teachers. The first step of dipping your toe into the D.H. pool is exploring what’s out there or what’s in the process of being created. We’ll use this space on Thursdays to review interesting examples of DH projects in various stages of development.

For our first Thursday Review we thought we would review a project with strong ties to the University of Oregon scholarly community–Helen Southworth’s MAPP project.

From her office in Chapman Hall, Professor Helen Southworth has been a leading proponent of D.H. at UO. Her classes on D.H. in the Robert D. Clark Honors College are popular among undergraduates, and her students create original research projects using digital tools showcased in Professor Southworth’s classes. Alongside an international cohort of scholars with funding from Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Professor Southworth has been involved over the past few years in developing the Modernist Archives Publishing Project (MAPP).

For scholars working in modernist studies, publishing history, or history of the book, this website promises an exciting online access point to rare archival texts. As the title suggests, this project will publish these archival materials for users to access free of charge, and the site claims “to promote new ways of organizing, interacting with, and using historical information about book culture.” Thus, MAPP represents one of the best aspects of the digital humanities: providing public access to users and democratizing scholarship for all researchers, including those who may not have the resources required to travel to archives.

The home page for MAPP raises some exciting possibilities for the project, featuring a beautiful image of an original sign for the Hogarth Press, the publishing house begun by prominent authors Virginia and Leonard Woolf in 1917. Hogarth Press was one of the key publishing outlets for a variety of authors, including canonical modernist literary figures such as T.S. Eliot, Nancy Cunard, and Katherine Mansfield as well as important translations of works by Sigmund Freud. By digitizing, annotating, and reconfiguring texts published by Hogarth, MAPP “positions the Hogarth Press as both case study and catalyst to a broader understanding of how publishing houses as creative and business enterprises shaped the modernist movement and the discourses of twentieth-century culture.” For scholars of this period, this resource will prove an important research tool in analyzing the network of publications that contextualize the modernist moment, digitizing texts, letters, and documents related to Hogarth’s publishing history. But, just as importantly, this resource will serve as a useful pedagogical tool, allowing teachers to assign research projects in which students analyze and explore this important historical publishing press.

With an availability date of 2017, MAPP will be an exciting online archive of publishing house papers related to the Hogarth Press. As the project develops, new publishing houses will be added to the site, including such historically significant presses as Chatto and Windus, Methuen, John Lane/Bodley Head, Faber and Faber, and Penguin. Keep an eye out for these developments on MAPP–an exciting example of the links between digital and public humanities that makes rare documents available to a wide audience of teachers, students, historians, scholars, and book lovers.


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