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Juxta Collation of Melville and Bradbury

Background.  In 1953-1954, science fiction and fantasy writer Ray Bradbury wrote the screenplay for John Huston’s 1956 film Moby Dick.  Multiple versions of Bradbury’s adaptation are archived from various sources at the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, Indiana University School of Liberal Arts (UIPUI).  

Current Technology.  Juxta Commons is a web service sponsored by NINES, based on Performant Software’s collation tool Juxta.  The tool permits the side-by-side comparison of any number of interchangeable witnesses of a single work and highlights all variants. In TextLab’s Juxta feature, editors can also add revision narrative annotation to the highlighted variants.  In the visualization below, Melville’s original of Ahab’s speech in “The Symphony” (Moby-Dick, Ch. 132) is collated against Version A of Bradbury’s screenplay.  (MEL is grateful to Jonathan Eller, director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, for supplying the brief, featured excerpt from Bradbury’s screen adaptation, in compliance with fair use copyright protocols.)

Proposed Technology.  Even though the collation here is trans-generic (novel v. screenplay), it is essentially “symmetric” (text v. text).  The more urgent challenge is “asymmetric collation,” and how to adapt Juxta to enable editors to display trans-media (text v. film) adaptations of Moby-Dick as well.