The May Sinclair Critical Editions Project: Publishing and Pedagogy
This panel arises from the work of the Edinburgh May Sinclair Critical Editions Project: the publication of a series of annotated scholarly editions of Sinclair’s work, as well as a wider engagement with modernist textual editing as a disciplinary field in its own right. The three papers address potential interconnections between scholarly editing, archival research and digital humanities, exploring their usefulness in informing and enhancing teaching practice.
Shalini Sengupta will discuss the collection of May Sinclair papers recently acquired by the University of Sussex Special Collections and the insight this offers into Sinclair’s mysticism. The paper argues that Sinclair’s short-story manuscripts and philosophical writing reveal a burgeoning interest in Eastern (Indian) mysticism and discusses the manner in which the Critical Editions Project expands upon this little-studied thematic thread. Additionally, the paper underscores Sinclair’s interest in priestly and privileged Eastern literature (such as the Upanishads and the Sutras) and traces this interest alongside Sinclair’s review of Tagore as ‘the great mythic poet from Bengal’ (Sinclair, ‘The “Gitanjali”’: Or Song Offerings of Rabindranath Tagore’). It concludes with a discussion on how the Critical Editions Project broadens the scope for the study of British (modernist) writing by exploring its foray into Eastern mysticism. How might this relationship favourably extend the scope of modernist studies for scholars all over the world?
Shalini Sengupta is a doctoral student at the University of Sussex. She is a Research Assistant working on Tranche 1 of the Sinclair Critical Editions Project (funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant).
Claire Drewery shows how, uniquely, the Sinclair Editions are being released as a series of themed tranches which emphasize their author’s multi-disciplinarity, from popular and experimental literature and literary history to biography, criticism, war memoirs and philosophical Idealism. Sinclair’s philosophy – a key tenet of her modernism – is the focus of Tranche 1. This paper explores the possibilities these fields of research open up pedagogically, and for the teaching of modernism specifically, in the light of two of my University’s key objectives for redeveloping its literature degree provision: HSE (Highly Skilled Employment) and decolonizing the curriculum. I explore ways in which scholarly editing and modernism inform the creation of two modules which are each assessed by means of live project briefings: ‘Creating and Curating’ (Level 4) and ‘Transforming Bodies’ (Level 6).
Claire Drewery is a Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, co-founder of the May Sinclair Society, and a General Editor and Volume Editor of the Sinclair Critical Editions.
Rebecca Bowler discusses the digital arm of the Sinclair project. The editions team were recently awarded NEH funding to produce a digital genetic edition of one of Sinclair’s short stories. This edition will include digitised scans of all drafts of one short story, from Sinclair’s original workbook notes (including the whole workbook, so interdisciplinary connections can be traced), through manuscript and typescript draft, to page proof and the first published version of each text. Users of this open access resource will be able to trace each idea from its initial inception through to finished publication. This paper discusses the pedagogical implications of this resource, and of open access research repositories more generally, in opening up archives at prestigious (and often geographically remote) institutions to achieve a global reach. What potential is there in these projects for more radical forms of inclusion?
Rebecca Bowler is a Lecturer in Twentieth-Century Literature at Keele University. She is co-founder of the May Sinclair Society and a General Editor and Volume Editor on the May Sinclair Critical Editions Project.