NINES Tutorial: The Yellow Nineties Online
NINES Tutorial: The Yellow Nineties Online
The Yellow Nineties Online is an online database which is “focused on The Yellow Book and other avant-garde aesthetic periodicals” and can be found at www.1890s.ca. The site, which is edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, is host to completed editions of 13 volumes of The Yellow Book, one volume of The Pagan Review, four volumes of The Evergreen: A Northern Seasonal, The Life of Sir Thomas Bodley, and many other biographical texts which are relevant to the period. In addition to those, editions of The Dial, The Quarto, and The Savoy are currently works in progress and will be added to the site eventually. One of the most striking aspects of this site is their commitment to bringing top quality content to its readers. The text of each of the periodicals is “scanned by Optical-Character Recognition software and checked against copy text” and there is an attempt made to use first editions of the material as the copy text, where it is possible (1890s.ca). Additionally, the site makes many accommodations with regards to the format of the material. All of the material is able to be downloaded, and they offer the option of viewing the work in flip book, html, pdf, or xml formats. Offering a wide variety of format options for the files allows one to select a compatible format for its intended purpose, lessening the chance that there is incompatibility with software programs.
Not only does the site make strides to provide high quality, authentic texts, but they seek to provide them in an easily accessible format. From the home page, the top portion of the website consists of several drop-down tabs which open when moused over. These provide additional links to material related to each tab and are extremely easy to navigate.
The primary focus of this site is, of course, The Yellow Book. The tab corresponding to the text features links to a “Volumes” page, “Promotional Materials” (which only cover volumes 1-5), reviews of the periodicals during their original circulation periods in the 1890s, and Scholarly Commentary. When viewing the “Volumes” section, each individual volume is listed with the corresponding publication month and year, starting in April of 1894. Each volume also comes with links to a Scholarly Introduction and a Table of Contents, available in HTML, XML, or PDF formats. The volume itself is available for viewing in the three previously mentioned formats, as well as in FlipBook format.
Similarly, in the “Other Yellow Nineties Texts” section, The Pagan Review is listed with links to “Volumes” (of which there is only one), reviews from the 1890s, and a “Scholarly Commentary” page. Of the texts listed in this section, The Evergreen and The Life of Sir Thomas Bodley contain only links to the volumes.
The “Biographies” section is host to the biographical texts of more than 50 influential figures from the 1890s – including Oscar Wilde. When one clicks on a desired biography, the first page presented is one offering a brief overview about that individual. If more information is desired, there are links to the biographical information in various formats.
The most interesting piece of information I discovered while scouring this database was the relatively mild reactions reviewers had towards The Pagan Review during the 1890s. With a name so openly decrying religion, one would expect a certain amount of backlash from many communities. However, critics focused mainly on The Pagan Review in relation to comparable periodicals. Frederic M. Bird of Lippincott’s Monthly does well to minimize the subject material of the Pagan, simply stating the month in which it “entered on its career of devastation”. Aside from that small quip, Bird concentrated on the rather lackluster presentation, wondering “what engine of reform has not been hampered by mundane limitations at the start?”. Similarly, The Saturday Review covered less of the subject matter and focused on The Pagan’s strange business model, “which requests ‘subscriptions in advance’”. However, the most shocking of these reviews which seems to make light of the pagan material is from the Christian Union. In its review of The Pagan Review, they found that “it is not an organized assault upon any citadel of received doctrine”.
Denisoff, Dennis and Kooistra, Lorraine Janzen. “1890s Reviews about The Pagan Review.” The Yellow Nineties Online. http://www.1890s.ca/1890sReviews.aspx?p=The%20Pagan%20Review&c=2