Event Response: Infinite Ulysses

Infinite Ulysses is a website to read and discuss the text Ulysses. This website contains the entire text of Ulysses, and users can add annotations to the text. The point of the website is to allow people of all backgrounds to have a new, more interactive, experience reading the text with the added perspectives of many others. Comments could be sorted into categories with tags. These categories can be for dedicated scholars, such as history and intertextuality. Conversely, these can be considerable lighter comments made by more casual readers, expressing their opinions about a particular scene. Or, the comments could be in the middle, discussing the story itself. Educational comments to explain the context of the story to the casual reader fall under several of the possible categories, such as definition, translation, or questions. The creator of this project wanted the site to be useful for as many people as possible, which is why the wide variety of tags is allowed. To assist readers in navigating all of the comments, they can filter certain tags, so they only see the comments that they feel are appropriate to them, and are not overwhelmed by a massive amount of comments. In the future, the creator of this project is hoping to have open source code, so this type of edition can be applied to texts by people with little programming experience.

I think this idea gives interesting thought about the definition of a text and its editions. For me, I would love to see textbooks have this sort of annotation. Many times while reading a textbook chapter, it would have assisted me greatly to have something rephrased. Also, having an annotation with a more detailed “Why?” section could help me better understand certain concepts. Additionally, comments on “When am I ever going to use this?” could help make material more interesting and relevant to me.

This project connects to our class because it allows new voices to be heard. Editions of classical texts have always exclusively included annotations by scholars. While some editions may include more scholarly information and some may attempt to decipher the text for less informed readers, the voices of the highly educated have dominated text annotations. With this website, the platform is opened to all who have internet connection. This allows for casual readers to post questions and respond to each other in a way that was not possible before. Through this platform, new insights will be added to Ulysses, allowing for more people to relate to the text and participate in the discussion surrounding it.

One thought on “Event Response: Infinite Ulysses”

  1. Your suggestion of open textbook annotations is a great idea – some experiments with this have been done already, but we definitely need more. Good explanation of the way that Visconti’s project democratizes the reading of literary texts, as well.

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