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Overview: Digital Humanities
This module introduces undergraduate students to the ways that the digital humanities can enhance analysis of King Lear. The four activities and assignment should allow students to explore a range of digital tools, from annotation to data mining. After mastering these methods, students can incorporate them in exercises and/or assignments for other modules.
This goal of this module is to show how digitizing a text opens a new lens on it. Using digital tools introduces expanded ways of seeing and examining a text while also providing unique methods to analyze and represent a text’s meaning through visualizations.
As a supplement to this module, we have digitized two early printings of Lear, an 18th-century adaptation of the play, and Shakespeare’s primary sources (see Digital Texts).
These texts include:
- The Fourth Folio version of Lear (1685; digitized in collaboration with the Detroit Public Library)
- The Quarto version of Lear (1608; using enhanced digital images from The Folger Shakespeare Library)
- Nahum Tate’s adaptation of Lear (1736; digitized from the holdings in Wayne State’s Special Collections)
- The Leir story from Raphael Holinshed’s The Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1587; digitized from the holdings in Wayne State’s Special Collections)
- The Lear story from Book II, Canto 10 of Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene (1611; digitized from holdings in Wayne State’s Special Collections)
- The story of the Paphlagonian king from Book 2, Chapter 10 of Philip Sidney’s Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia (1590; using digital images from The Folger Shakespeare Library)
- The anonymous play King Leir (1605; using digital images from The Folger Shakespeare Library)
Each text is available for viewing through various eBook readers and analysis platforms, each with distinct capabilities.
- eText Reader: provides an attractive reading format with page turning capabilities to mimic reading a print text; offers the ability to search these digital texts for keywords related to certainty, identity or other themes, and capture screenshots of specific regions of a page image (example)
- Mirador Reader: offers the capability of placing two texts side-by-side for detailed text examination (e.g., comparing the Fourth Folio and Quarto, or comparing Shakespeare’s play with its sources); the zooming capability allows for significant magnification (example)
- Analysis: incorporates the ability to annotate the text publicly, or in private groups appropriate for instruction and scholarly work, and to send it through Voyant for textual analysis, which will produce visualizations such as word frequency graphs, linking, and word clouds (example)
Assignments (out of class)
From the WSU Special Collections
Nahum Tate’s adaptation of Lear (1736; digitized from the holdings in Wayne State’s Special Collections)
The Folger Shakespeare Library
"The world's largest Shakespeare collection." Digital editions of Shakespeare's works, Folgerpedia, links to resources about Shakespeare and his times
Digital Anthology of Early Modern English Drama
"A Digital Anthology of Early Modern English Drama is a hub for exploring over four hundred early modern English plays that were performed in London's professional theaters between 1576 and 1642."
Map of Early Modern London
From the University of Victoria:
"The Map of Early Modern London is comprised of four distinct, interoperable projects: a digital edition of the 1561 Agas woodcut map of London; an Encyclopedia and Descriptive Gazetteer of London people, places, topics, and terms; a Library of marked-up texts rich in London toponyms; and a versioned edition of John Stow’s Survey of London."
"Shakespeare Documented is the largest and most authoritative collection of primary-source materials documenting the life of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), bringing together all known manuscript and print references to Shakespeare, his works, and additional references to his family, in his lifetime and shortly thereafter. "
"The MIT Global Shakespeares Video & Performance Archive is a collaborative project providing online access to performances of Shakespeare from many parts of the world as well as essays and metadata by scholars and educators in the field."
Shakespeare in Quarto
From The British Library:
View and compare quarto editions of Shakespeare's plays.
Borrowers and Lenders
From the University of Georgia:
"a peer-reviewed, online, multimedia Shakespeare journal."
About the Scholar
Judith M. Arnold
Judith Arnold is a Librarian IV and English Language & Literature Liaison in the Wayne State University Library System.