The Venture: An Annual of Art and Literature

Detail from Venture endpapers

The Venture, a two-volume annual of art and literature edited by Laurence Housman and Somerset Maugham in 1903 and 1905, was recently acquired by Ryerson University’s Special Collections as part of its 1890s materials, in support of the SSHRC-funded research of Lorraine Janzen Kooistra and her research team at the Centre for Digital Humanities. The editorial team is preparing a digital edition of The Venture in order to put this little-known annual into conversation with searchable digital editions of The Dial,The Evergreen, The Green Sheaf,The Pagan Review, The Pageant, The Savoy, and The Yellow Book on Yellow Nineties 2.0, an open-access electronic resource for the contextual study of fin-de-siècle little magazines.

Published at the liminal boundary  of the “Victorian” and the “modernist” The Venture provokes questions around literary history and periodization; the history of print media and book publishing; and the inter-relationships between visual art, literature, and design. It is notable, for instance, that the acclaimed modernist writer, James Joyce, published “Two Songs” in The Venture two years before their appearance in book form in the poetry collection Chamber Music, published by Elkin Mathews in 1907.

In Summer 2019 Undergraduate Research Opportunity Scholar Emma Fraschetti joined the Venture editorial team. In addition to creating a bibliographic audit of the two volumes’ contents, digitizing their pages, and marking up images and texts in the Text Encoding Initiative’s (TEI’s) version of extensible markup language, Emma worked on an original research project on the links between feminist activism for woman suffrage and  The Venture’s editorial policy, contributors, and content.