Research Talk: Manuel Portela, "The BOOK OF DISQUIET DIGITAL ARCHIVE as a Literary Experiment"

April 14, 2016
12:30 - 2:00 PM
2123 Tawes Hall

Making a complex network of literary materials accessible and intelligible for common users is a major challenge faced by digital scholars. Despite their high value as teaching and research resources, many digital projects remain confined to the expert scholarly community. In the digital archive devoted to Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet (Arquivo LdoD,, forthcoming 2016) we experimented with Web 2.0 techniques in constructing a social edition where expert and common users can engage in the creation and publication of new versions of the book. Within this reading, editing and writing space, users are invited to engage with the Book of Disquiet by playing different roles. In this talk I will show how the simulation rationale of the project is a way of rethinking bibliographic structures and literary experience in digital media.

Manuel Portela is Assistant Professor with Habilitation in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Coimbra, where he directs the Doctoral Program in Advanced Studies in the Materialities of Literature. He collaborates in the “PO.EX Archive: A Digital Archive of Portuguese Experimental Literature” (, and he is the principal investigator of the “LdoD Archive: A Digital Archive of Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet” ( He is the author of two scholarly books: O Comércio da Literatura: Mercado e Representação [The Commerce of Literature: Marketplace and Representation] (Antígona, 2003), a study of the British literary market in the eighteenth century, and Scripting Reading Motions: The Codex and the Computer as Self-reflexive Machines (MIT Press, 2013). He has also translated many English-language authors, including several works by Laurence Sterne, William Blake, and Samuel Beckett. In 1998 he received the National Award for Translation for the Portuguese translation of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (1997-98, 1st ed.; 2014, new edition).

For more information contact: Orrin Wang (