This project (over-viewed here)takes a look at the drafts of “Sailing to Byzantium” and “Byzantium” and attempts to digitize them in such a way that increases accessibility and readership. Our objective was threefold: to make drafts more available to the non-academic reader, to better understand the fragmentary nature of the poet and his work, and to create a fresh, new reading experience of some of Yeats’s most revered poems. On the eve of their release into the public domain, our work anticipates the inevitable discussions of democratizing information by disseminating drafts to Yeats students via the internet and the Versioning Machine, a free comparative software.
This page links to criticism on the history of each poem compiled by Dan Mariani and Gaston Touafek as well as to a separate site, home to the Versioning Machine and select drafts of each poem. What we hope this software can demonstrate is the extent to which Yeats revised and how that undermines the assumption of a final, great poet Yeats. By exploring the process and not the product (to use Bornstein’s words) we hope that we might illuminate the complexity of Yeats’s creations.
The gallery below provides visuals and commentary about how the Versioning Machine and its supporting code works.