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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: March ::
Announcing Cook's Tours
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0092  Tuesday, 3 March 2009

From:       Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:       Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Subject:    Announcing Cook's Tours

The other day I expressed an interest in developing a series of 
monographs that I would distribute on SHAKSPER, exploring Internet 
resources of interest to Shakespeareans and those who study the Early 
Modern Period.

I was looking for an outlet for sharing some of the Internet references 
and other materials I have gathered over the years for my teaching and 
for my scholarship as well as providing me the excuse to continue with 
my electronic-world-packrat ways and the resulting pleasure of the 
pursuit, the discover, and the examination of my findings.

I also asked for suggestions for a catchy name for this activity. I 
thoroughly enjoyed all of the possibilities sent to me and thank 
everyone who took the time to write, but the suggestion that immediately 
struck me as being just right was David Evett's "Cook's Tour." So, 
today, I officially begin Cook's Tours an introduction to what I have in 
mind.

I have decided to establish a section on the SHAKSPER website to store 
these digests and include the Sunday evening's SHK 20.0082: Instructions 
for Accessing the Folger Shakespeare Library's Digital Image Collection 
and the Shakespeare Quartos Archive. Having a section on the website 
will enable me to do an addition proofing and polishing of the 
monographs as needed.

I have explained that activity would enable me to explore in detail 
resources I mentioned in my essay for SH@KESPEARE IN THE MEDIA and 
others I am encountering almost daily.

As I compose this note, I am reminded of two activities from my past, 
activities that may be driving my desire to undertake this project.

When I was an undergraduate in the mid- to late-1960s (yes, I am a baby 
boomer and a hippie), I recall that I used to budget approximately five 
days in the library every time I had to write a research paper for 
developing my working bibliography. I would take index cards, a half 
dozen sharpened pencils, and a bottle of aspirin and I would sit down at 
the index table with the blue-bound volumes of the PMLA bibliography. I 
would start with the earliest indexes from the first years of the 
twentieth-century as I recall and start turning pages slowing, carefully 
examining the entries for books and articles that might be relevant to 
my current project. Five days later with a raging headache, I would 
reach the unbound volumes of the 1960s and I was done. Now, I sit down 
at my computer with my Z39.50 Internet Compliant Bibliographic 
Management Software, EndNote, and in ten or fifteen minutes I will have 
performed a more comprehensive search than I thought possible when I was 
an undergraduate. I shall dedicate, at least, one upcoming Cook's Tour 
to bibliographic management software.

After I completed my Ph.D., I participated in a N.E.H. Humanities 
Institute at the Folger Library on "Shakespeare and the History of 
Taste," conducted by Professor Joseph G. Price of Pennsylvania State 
University. The Seminar was designed to explore the reception of 
Shakespeare's works as well as to introduce to the participants the 
wealth of resources available for their use. One activity I undertook 
was to trace the reception of Sonnet 20, "A Womans face with natures 
owne hand painted," the Master Mistris Sonnet. I began with a facsimile 
of the sonnet from Q1, the Aspley Imprint, at the Folger Library, and 
then with my trusty Radio Shack Tandy 100, first generation laptop 
computer, I was set out to transcribe the sonnet as it appeared in 
print, noting all changes. I next turned to the notorious 1640 edition 
of the Poems, published by Benson. I moved to Nicholas Rowe's edition of 
1709 published by Jacob Tonson. Rowe was Shakespeare's first editor, but 
his six-volume edition does not contain the sonnets or the narrative 
poems, only the plays. In 1710, Edmund Curll published the poems in an 
unauthorized seventh edition, in a volume in the same style as Rowe's 
six. My examination continued through the great eighteenth-century 
editions: Pope, Theobald, Hanmer, Warburton, Johnson, Capell, Steevens, 
Reed, and Malone. I loved working my way through the "modern" stacks, 
examining and studying these volumes.

Now, with the help of Terry Gray's Shakespeare's Works 
<http://shakespeare.palomar.edu/works.htm> and Shakespeare's Editor's 
<http://shakespeare.palomar.edu/Editors/> pages and thanks to the Google 
Books Project, The Internet Archives, Microsoft, and others, I have a 
virtual library on my hard drive of photo-facsimiles of most of these 
great editions, subjects to be covered upcoming editions of this feature.

With Cook's Tours, I will share my knowledge of all things geekish as 
well as the rapidly increasing resources on the Internet that can be 
used in the pursuit of Shakespeare and Early Modern scholarship.

Welcome aboard,
Hardy M. Cook
Editor of SHAKSPER


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