Editors: Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, eds.
An avant-garde magazine innovative in both form and content, The Yellow Book was the defining document of the decade it coloured as "the yellow nineties" and remains central to the study of fin-de-siècle art, literature, and society. In response to issues of access to the periodical itself and the lack of a cohesive centre for aggregating scholarly commentary on The Yellow Book, editors Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra have turned to digital technology. The Yellow Nineties Online places The Yellow Book in the context of related fin-de-siècle aesthetic periodicals and the transatlantic reviewing mechanisms they generated. The site gives immediate open access to historical documents, while preserving, in a regularly updated virtual form, periodicals in danger of disintegration due to their crumbling, pulp-based and chemical-bleached paper.
Most importantly, The Yellow Nineties Online opens the pages of The Yellow Book and related periodicals to new forms of reading and analysis by bringing the visualization technologies of our digital age to bear on the material objects of fin-de-siècle print culture. In its current phase, all 13 volumes of The Yellow Book (1894-1897) are available in digitized form, and the first half of the print run has been fully edited. The single-volume Pagan Review (1892) has been included in this initial stage of site development because of its many connections to The Yellow Book, its extreme rarity (only two copies are known to be extant), and its expansion of the publishing context from urban London to rural Sussex. The digitization of these two periodicals and their respective paratextual materials allows users to juxtapose key print documents of the aesthetic and decadent movements with those coming out of the Celtic Revival and neo-paganism.
Denisoff and Janzen Kooistra provide introductory essays for each individual volume as well as scholarly overviews of each magazine as whole. Their editorial theory of text as socially and collaboratively produced is made explicit in the Biographies section of the site. Here users can access scholarly biographies on contributors to the periodicals published as well as other individuals who made significant contributions to the 1890s in the areas of culture, literature, visual art, book-design, publishing, and technological innovation. In a series of meta-critical essays, the research team reflects on the process of building The Yellow Nineties Online and on the relationships between fin-de-siècle periodicals and twenty-first century digital projects, both produced collaboratively and serially, with a fixed starting point but a theoretically continuous life span. All documents on The Yellow Nineties Online are marked-up and fully searchable, and the site has been peer-reviewed and federated by the Networked Interface of Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship (NINES).