Modernist Journals Project

Project Name: Modernist Journals Project

Project URL: http://modjourn.org

Project Affiliation: Brown University and the University of Tulsa

Project Team: The permanent staff of the MJP includes the Director of the project at Brown, Robert Scholes and the Director at Tulsa, Sean Latham; Associate Director Jeff Drouin; Technical Advisor Clifford Wulfman; and Site Manager at Brown Mark Gaipa. This team has been assisted by the Project Manager at Tulsa (2012-2013) Tara Aveilhe, and by Fulbright scholar at Brown (2012-2014) Abel Debritto. Additionally, many students from Brown, Tulsa and other universities have assisted on the project. An international board of advisors takes part in the site’s development.

Reviewed by: Sarah Kelly

Review Date: 09 March 2015

Tags or Keywords: modernism, periodical studies, magazines, print culture

Genre: scholarly database, research tool, teaching resource

Project Objectives:

The aim of the project is to provide a home for periodical publications within the English-speaking world ranging from the dates of 1890-1922. One of the main goals of the Modernist Journals Project is to demonstrate how important the role of journals and magazines were to the rise of Modernism, and to provide a platform for the study of this literary movement. While the project focuses primarily on periodicals, books and supporting materials that relate to this time period are also published within the site.

Review:

One of the elements of the site that I think is interesting is the ability to access written material in its original form. Through the MJP, a critical and original kind of research can take place on the part of the student or scholar that extends beyond traditional research methods. Looking at the design of the periodicals and the artwork within the journals allows for an understanding of modernism as a movement to take place in a way that is holistic, and I think reflective of some of the ideas we talked about earlier in the course in terms of digital humanities taking place in an interdisciplinary space. A student in a Literature class who might not otherwise have been interested in Modernist design, for instance, might be able to encounter the bright pink cover and bold lettering of “Blast” by chance and discover a new avenue for their own research into something like Modernist art or architecture. In this way I think the project also becomes a platform that fosters creative and intuitive connections as part of the research process, something that can’t be said for searching for keywords in large academic databases.

More specifically, looking at poetry in its original context is an important part of examining the development of Modernism both as a movement and within the oeuvres of particular poets and writers. A version of a work as it first appears in the journal “Poetry” might appear radically different to the version that ends up being later revised by the poet in an anthologized publication. So, students are able to do critical work that might not otherwise be possible without these digitized versions. Although its difficult to gauge the reason why particular editorial choices were made within the pages of these journals, examining the work itself and being able to see the breadth of the kinds of works published during the time period also opens up a conversation about what we consider “Modernism” or a “Modernist aesthetic”.

Expertise Required: No expertise required! The “Journals” page on the site gives readers a list of digitized journals in alphabetical order by date and accompanied by a brief summary. The periodical directory is provides clear directions for the user to be able to sift through journals in PDF format. Publications are listed in alphabetical order and contain the following descriptive categories: name, country, type (e.g. bibelots are very small magazines ), date beginning, date ending and additional notes. Visual timelines on the site also serve as helpful guides to the digitized material. In terms of using the MJP as a pedagogical tool, features of the site include a guide to researching within the directory. A guide for how best to “read” a magazine keeping specific research goals in mind is something I think would be particularly helpful for the undergraduate classroom.

Open Access: The searchable database is open to the public within the United States. Users must be granted permission by the MJP to reproduce material from the site in other forms of publication or commercial use.

Similar Projects:

The International Dada Archive

Ubu Web

Eclipse Archive 

Other Reviews:

“Staff Picks, Modernist Journals, Frances Gall” The Paris Review 

 “The Modernist Journal Project: The Little Review, Blast, Coterie, The Owl, The Crisis, and more magazines for you to download (seriously)” The Poetry Foundation

1 thought on “Modernist Journals Project

  1. Susanna Coleman

    It’s nice to see a DH project focusing on modernism! I had no idea this site existed. I think it exhibits one of the best things about DH: preserving texts and data then making them available to the public. I love being able to see the images of the journals themselves– their aesthetic as you pointed out– rather than just reading the plain text of the poems. I think it adds something both to research and to pedagogy, when you can show your students what the original publications looked like.

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