John Bryant

If a project like Herman Melville’s Typee: A Fluid-Text Edition proves anything, it is that even in the earliest stages of writing, a text is the result of collaboration. What holds for Melville’s text, holds true for this online site: it simply could not have evolved, or continue to evolve (as we hope it will), without the combined efforts of numerous individuals who were able to take my scholarship and storyboards and show me how they might or might not be moved into an effective electronic edition.

Early in the transformation process were John Unsworth and Daniel Pitti of the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH). When grant funding did not materialize, and the project of showing electronically how Melville revised his first novel seemed stillborn, Michael Gusinde-Duffy of the University of Virginia Press showed a path that eventually led to the site you now see, a part of Rotunda’s Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture series, supported by the Press’s director Penny Kaiserlian and Electronic Imprint manager Mark Saunders. Let me also thank Hofstra University and the National Endowment for the Humanities for providing me time off from teaching in 2003–2005.

The necessary hands-on work—the strategizing, copyediting, and re-editing—that turned my Word files into the innovative electronic edition itself was accomplished by several remarkable individuals: David Sewell, Mary Ann Lugo, Tim Finney, Oludotun Akinola, and Bill Covert. Each applied their excellent scholarly talents to problems concerning accuracy, consistency, good writing, hypertext structure, and image design. If I imagined something outlandish, they would make it happen, or politely show me why it could not be, for now. I have spent twenty years studying Melville’s Typee manuscript, but my work would not have seen the light of day, or rather the light in your screen, if it were not for the care, insight, and ingenuity of these colleagues and collaborators.