Tuesday, June 29, 2004

He crammed his mouth with fry and munched and droned.

Around Bloomsday, I picked up on a couple of interesting James Joyce projects: Finnegans Wake and Ulysses.  Okay, so it's nothing revolutionary.  Wait a second...maybe it is.  See, both projects are making use of blogs to cycle the e-paginations of the respective novels.  The sites run RSS feeds and disburse one page each day.  I'm not sold on the slow-release scheme for each book, but I am pleased to see the way these blogs are bending the print paradigm into an alternative textual system--complete with searchability, feeds, archiving, and free access. 

The Ulysses project appears to be the better automated of the two at this stage.  If you check the link, you'll see the entire novel is available in chunks and it's cycling through on an engine of sorts, chugging through several hundred pages, one by one over the next two years, automatically.  The Finnegan's Wake project isn't entirely online yet, so there'll be no reading ahead for now.  But FW has comments enabled, so it would be conceivable to watch discussions unfolding out of each page, not that I have any idea what those discussions might undertake. No nubo no!

So while it might not seem groundbreaking at first (nor am I sure this kind of thing hasn't been done before), I want to watch how it goes.  I think it connects in interesting ways with much of the list-talk about subscription gouging and digital models for journal distribution (subscriptions, archiving, access, etc.), news and entries about feeds overhauling the browser approach to reading the web, and transformations of biblio-traditionalisms into what's rapidly unfolding in front of us.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at June 29, 2004 10:36 PM to On Weblogs

Thanks for the kind words on the FW deal.

Since I host it on TypePad, I can't have the kind of automation the the Ulysses does.

On top of that, I have no scripting skills, but I do have another domain- fw269.com- where I could set up a more automated version. All I need is help.


Posted by: brewdog at July 2, 2004 10:04 PM

To the extent that you're handling any of it manually, it's a provocative piece of work and a suitable example for alternative conversions from print to e-form (bypassing PDF): interesting a all sorts of ways. Even in its bound form, FW calls for a different sort of reading. I can't help supposing Joyce would have preferred it to be hypertextual (or perhaps it was hypertextual long before e-links, clickability and alt-route reading). Anyway, cool project. I'm happy to have it feeding into my aggregator.

Posted by: Derek at July 2, 2004 10:28 PM