For four weeks in the summer of 2006, Andrew Gibson and Steven Morrison, in collaboration with the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at King’s College London, worked on the pilot for a major research project, intended to create a database in hypertext form of hitherto unexplored British and Irish historical materials, from 1880 to 1920, available in the British Library, for the study of James Joyce’s Ulysses. This site presents the fruits of that original research: 171 entries, drawn from books, journals and newspapers of the time, linked to the text of the ‘Telemachus’ episode of Ulysses.
Though many different sets of annotations for Ulysses already exist, this project aimed to unearth a different kind of contextual framework – British, Irish, political, historical and literary – for a more precisely focussed understanding of Joyce’s novel. All of the material relates to the climate, political, intellectual and cultural, which was most closely Joyce’s own, while a fair amount of it derives from sources which we know Joyce actually read (the United Irishman, for example). In the absence of further funding, the pilot may have barely scratched the surface, but the material is presented here in the hope that it will be of use to Joyceans everywhere and that it suggests what still might be possible in terms of deepening our understanding of Joyce’s writings by attending to their contexts.
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