Title page of: Vers le pôle en aéroplane

The COST Action Distant Reading for European Literary History (CA16204) is proud to announce the release of version 1.0.0 of the European Literary Text Collection, ELTeC for short. The latest release comes almost exactly one year after our first significant release and brings more languages as well as more novels per language to the table, plus of course a host of improvements to corpus composition, metadata, textual markup and transcriptions. (Hurried readers can find the list of all included collections with links to the texts in our ELTeC umbrella repository.)

Title page of: Vers le pôle en aéroplane
The title page of Jehan Gilbert’s novel Vers le pôle en aéroplane (1912). Source: Gallica,

With 10 collections of at least 50 novels, including 5 collections that have reached our target of 100 novels per language, and 884 novels in total, this is an exciting new release! Complete collections of 100 novels are now available for English, French, Hungarian, Portuguese and Slovenian, and substantial collections of more than 50 novels are available for German (98 novels), Spanish (81), Romanian (80), Serbian (67) and Swedish (58). This release has been made possible by the hard work and dedication of the individual collection editors and contributors, and of WG1 leaders Carolin Odebrecht and Lou Burnard: we thank them all! A collection like ELTeC, requiring expertise in many different literary traditions, can only be a collaborative effort.

Please be reminded that ELTeC aims to provide roughly comparable collections of 100 novels each in at least 10 different European languages. All novels included in each collection were published between 1840 and 1920 and we aim to represent the largest possible variety of the production of this time. In particular, we aim to include substantial proportions of novels written by female authors, novels which have not become canonized, short and long novels, and novels published early and late in our selected timeframe. In addition, all novels are carefully encoded in a precisely defined subset of the Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative. As a result, ELTeC includes many novels that have been provided in a state-of-the art XML-TEI format, or even in any digital format, for the first time. An example of one such novel is Jehan Gilbert’s Vers le pôle en aéroplane first published in 1912, whose title page is pictured above. ELTeC is being curated on Github and collections are archived on Zenodo.

The 10 collections included in the current release are in the limelight today. Let’s not forget, however, that there is a host of additional languages in preparation, and many of them have already gathered very substantial numbers of novels. In fact, we have passed the milestone of 1000 novels included in all ELTeC collections some time ago already. To make this work visible, we provide an overview of our ongoing work on the various ELTeC collections online. There will be more releases over the coming year that we certainly expect to include some additional collections as well. So please watch this space or follow us on Twitter!