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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: February ::
DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0058  Wednesday, 18 February 2009

From:      Zachary Lesser <
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 >
Date:      Sunday, 8 Feb 2009 17:24:09 -0500
Subject:   DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks

We are writing to invite you to use a new web resource for studying the 
printing, publishing, and marketing of early modern English drama, 
including Shakespeare. DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks, 
created by Alan B. Farmer and Zachary Lesser, is an easy-to-use and 
highly customizable search engine of every playbook produced in England 
from the beginning of printing through 1660. DEEP provides a wealth of 
information about the original playbooks, their title-pages, paratextual 
matter, bibliographic details, and theatrical backgrounds. Because it 
makes this information available in an analytic database, DEEP allows 
you to study these playbooks easily and quickly in ways that are either 
impossible or highly time-consuming using earlier printed references or 
ESTC and EEBO.

Here are just a few examples of the kinds of questions that DEEP can 
quickly answer but that are difficult to research in any other way:

* Which plays were advertised as a "tragedy" on their title pages? or a 
"comedy"? or a "satire"?
* Which plays by Shakespeare advertised a performance at court or before 
the monarch?
* Which plays mention "God" on their title pages?
* What was the first playbook to include commendatory verses? or a 
dedication? or an address to the reader?
* Which plays were more likely to name an author on the title page, 
those printed in octavo or those printed in quarto?
* Which plays from the professional theater were printed with a list of 
errata?
* Which plays name their authors as "gentlemen" on the title page? or 
"student"? or "Minister"?
* How many civic pageants were printed with a woodcut or engraving? How 
many masques?
* Which plays published by Thomas Pavier named a playing company or a 
theater on their title pages? Which plays printed by Isaac or William 
Jaggard did the same?
* Which plays written before 1600 were still being printed after 1630?
* Which playbooks list both the Globe and the Blackfriars theaters on 
their title pages?
* How many plays from the professional theater were published from 1590 
to 1599 with a list of characters?  How many from 1600 to 1609?
* How many collections containing plays were published prior to Ben 
Jonson's Works in 1616?
* Which plays were advertised as being sold in St Dunstan's Churchyard? 
St Paul's Churchyard? Britain's Burse?

DEEP yields the answers to these questions and many, many others. DEEP 
currently contains 27 different search terms, which can be used in 
multiple combinations. The site is the result of research we have been 
conducting over the past eight years, but it has previously resided only 
on our own computers; we want to give other scholars the ability to use 
the information we have gathered, to enable further research in the 
history of printed drama.

A full Help section is available on the site. DEEP is free to all users.

DEEP is available at http://deep.sas.upenn.edu

Sincerely,
Alan B. Farmer and Zachary Lesser

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