- “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”: Digital Multimedia Edition of James Joyce’s 1916 Novelby James Joyce
The new digital multimedia edition of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, produced by a team of researchers at University College Dublin (UCD), is a remarkable achievement. It should generate interest not only among Joyce scholars and general readers, but for those working in digital humanities as well. The edition was produced as part of UCD’s participation in the Decade of Centenaries (2012–2022), a national initiative celebrating Irish history, arts, and culture; the team, associated with UCD’s Nation, Genre, and Gender Project, includes Gerardine Meaney, Maria Mulvany, and Karen Wade. This team brings together scholars expert in Joyce and Irish literature as well as in digital-humanities methodologies and foci such as social network analysis, distant reading, and new media.
In order to walk potential users through the digital edition and its multimedia and scholarly features, I will begin with the site itself, then turn to the scholarship behind it, and conclude with a glimpse at the multimedia components. The menu on the home page of the site offers a vertical menu directing users to the novel chapter by chapter, plus an introduction to the digital edition, an introductory essay by Meaney on the novel itself and the ways the scholarly approach has been informed by digital-humanities methodology (specifically social-network analysis), and notes on the text. The home page also features a rotation of splash images of archival photographs depicting scenes of Dublin from the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, which provide entry to individual chapters as well. Other vertical menus lead to a downloadable audiobook (users can also listen online through SoundCloud), to a page on “Stephen’s Dublin” featuring a Dublin city map from 1898 (unfortunately a Google map [End Page 349]widget showing locations in the novel was no longer available on this page at the time of this review), and to the Nation, Genre, and Gender Project. Below the splash are a number of other entry points and links that allow access to the introduction to the digital edition, to the audiobook, and to the social-network analysis of characters generated by the Nation, Genre, and Gender Project.
The multiple points of entry allow for many ways to navigate this robust site; however, it does make for a certain lack of clarity as to the best way to find one’s path. For many users, this will inspire exploration, for some, confusion. There may also be the occasional inconsistency across the platform in presenting information about the copy-text selected for the digital edition and the editorial principles that are used. The information is available through the notes on the text accompanying the novel, where it states that the copy-text is “a facsimile edition of the 1921 reprint of the text of the 1916 edition of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” but the note does not indicate that this is the New York edition published by B. W. Huebsch—information provided otherwise. In some places, the text is simply referred to as “the 1916 text,” sometimes as a “facsimile of the text of a 1921 reprint of the 1916 New York edition,” and at other points as “carefully reproducing the text of the novel exactly as it was published in 1916.” The introduction to the digital edition does indicate the source of the text, which is in the public domain: a copy of the novel held at Berkeley and digitized by the Internet Archive. The text of each chapter is flush to the left of the page in a single long narrow column. Users who find this a challenge to their enjoyment of reading may wish to download the edition, which they may do as an e-book, PDF, or plain-text file. (Using the site on a smartphone meant the home...