In June 2021 a collaboration between the David Jones Research Center and the Faculty of English in the University of Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, Kettle’s Yard Gallery and Cambridge Digital Humanities Learning Programme will begin work to digitise and create an open-access digital edition of the letters of the poet, artist and First World War veteran David Jones (1895-1974) to his patron Jim Ede, founder of the Kettle’s Yard Museum. The project is being funded by the Cambridge Humanities Research Grant Scheme and the U.S.-based David Jones Research Center. Building on the growing interest in Jones as an undiscovered Modernist, and the increasing need for researchers to be digital-aware, we will open this project to the larger Cambridge University research community by hosting an intensive, catered, five-day workshop. Participants from across the Humanities can apply to gain expertise in encoding manuscript letters in the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) in exchange for work on the mark-up of five pages of manuscript material (about one-to-two letters), which will be displayed in the open-access Cambridge Digital Library.
The friendship of the artist and writer David Jones and Harold Stanley (“Jim”) Ede (1895–1990) is a unique example of the relationship between artist and patron in the Modernist period. In addition to financial support, Ede helped many artists elucidate the ideas underlying their work — an effort recorded in his extensive correspondence with and criticism of artists. However, the correspondence of Ede and Jones records a special affinity: both painters, Ede and Jones both served in the First World War, shared connections with Wales, and had a profound thirst to understand the role that art plays in spiritual life. In addition to featuring Jones’ most candid discussions of his artistic philosophy and its underlying spiritual vision, the letters (spanning the years 1927-1971 and contained in their entirety in the archive at Kettle’s Yard museum) are crucial to our understanding of Jones’ place in the network of Modernist artists and writers. In addition, they offer unique insights in the place of artistic practice in response to trauma; nationalism between the wars; and the role of art to bring about fulfilment in a secular world.
As with all Jones’ letters, a significant obstacle to their publication has been a practical one: the letters have a strong visual dimension which resists transcription in a traditional print format. Not only does Jones adorn and interlace his letters with colorful pictures and lettering, he constantly inserts, annotates, colour-codes, wraps and marks his texts, augmenting his letters in a way which resists easy transcription. While facsimile can capture some of this intricacy, Jones’ texts seem destined for digital editing methods.
Building on the growing interest in Jones as an undiscovered Modernist, and the increasing need for researchers to be digital-aware, we will open this project to the larger Cambridge University research community by hosting an intensive five-day workshop in collaboration with the CDH Learning Programme. Participants from across the Humanities can apply to gain expertise in encoding manuscript letters in the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) in exchange for work on the mark-up of five pages of manuscript material (about one-to-two letters), which will be displayed in the open-access Cambridge Digital Library. They will in turn receive due credit for their work as “assistant editors” in the larger David Jones Digital Archive (DJDA). Supported by lectures from Jones scholars Anna Svendsen (The David Jones Research Center) and Thomas Berenato (University of Virginia) and beginning with an archive-visit coordinated by grant-leader Laura McCormick Kilbride, the workshop will be led by Huw Jones from the Digital Library Unit at Cambridge University Library, and supported by Cambridge Digital Humanities and the Judith E. Wilson Centre for Poetics.
To hear more about the project, or to register your interest in our workshop, please contact Dr Laura McCormick Kilbride at email@example.com
Headpiece for ‘Rimes of the Ancient Mariner’ (The Harbour), 1928
Print [DJ 34]
Engraving on paper
44 x 74 mm