Updated to add (3/14/12): I’ve been thinking about the text mining and digital archive possibilities for this collection. With the help of Ted Underwood, a digital version of the collection with free access to the transcripts for others just may happen. Stay tuned.

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In Spring 2012 (proly by September now), my edition of Gothic Short Stories in the Annuals will be published with Zittaw Press. I’ve been invited to give a plenary this Spring at the Conference on Studies in Gothic Fiction, San Diego, March 16, 2012.

Below are the slides; yep, the talk has already happened with lots of great feedback about the potential of comparing this collection of short stories to the Gothic in general.


It’s an exciting moment for the publication of these short stories because there’s no other collection like it — mainly because no single library that owns these consecutive 28 volumes of the most popular British literary annual titles 1824-1831 (Forget Me Not, Literary Souvenir, Friendship’s Offering, The Keepsake).

I do.

In my study.

Piled on my desk and in a cabinet.

books

My smallish collection of British literary annuals represents 15 years of bibliomaniacal collecting. I had to do it, though, to finish my dissertation. Even while in graduate school in New York City, I could never find a single point of access for these little gems. So, I began buying them online, in bookstores, anywhere. Paula Feldman (University of South Carolina) owns the largest private collection. One day, perhaps she and I will place our collections in the same library – but not any day soon. The combined collection will represent the largest set of British and American annuals, as well as their precursors. But, I digress.

The manuscript for this gothic short stories collection (not necessarily a scholarly edition) went to the editor last April. Some of you may have followed my gleeful tweets on the topic and saw my excitement about the analytics that Google offers through GDocs. Google had just figured out how to create dynamic charts based on this spreadsheet data.

Gothic Short Story Tallies

I included my chart of data in the print version, but there’s no way to include the visualization of all that information in a static print document. The dynamic visualization represents what I already knew: that the Forget Me Not published more Gothic short stories and more pages 1824-1831 than any other literary annual. Ironically, Sir Walter Scott and Mary Shelley both published heavily in The Literary Souvenir and The Keepsake, but that didn’t catapult those annuals into the top short story numbers.

For details about how I defined “gothic,” my selection of the short stories, and a scholarly introduction about the annuals and their early gothic endeavors, you’ll have to see the print book. Once the book becomes available, The Poetess Archive will receive the full text of all 90+ stories to be TEI marked and available for some deep searching, along with the engravings.

Here’s a view of the engravings for your pleasure. (If you’d like to see a larger image of the engravings, watch the video on YouTube):

The short stories in these literary annuals yields some interesting information about 4 of the most popular annuals and the Forget Me Not as a leader for employing popular forms of literature. Below is a screencast of a visualization for all 4 literary annuals with percentage of pages dedicated to each volume each year. Clearly, the FMN capitalizes on popular literature in its production. There’s a whole bunch of other information that’s being interpreted. At some point, we’ll release the transcripts for some deep text mining.

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