Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home ::

TLS: Shakespeare on Capitol Hill

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.064  Friday, 13 February 2015


From:        Hardy Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         February 12, 2015 at 2:07:34 PM EST

Subject:    TLS: Shakespeare on Capitol Hill


[Editor’s Note: The following appeared in a recent TLS as did the next two to follow. I will provide excerpts here; and if anyone wishes the entire article and does not have access to TLS, please contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . -Hardy]


Shakespeare on Capitol Hill: Review by H. R. Woudhuysen



By Stephen H. Grant 

The story of Henry and Emily Folger 

244pp. Johns Hopkins University Press. £19.50 (US $29.95). 

978 1 4214 1187 3 


By 1924, Henry and Emily Folger owned sixty-seven copies of the First Folio – but they made sure as few people as possible knew about their obsession 


Armed with Colt .45s, machine guns, riot pistols and tear gas, in October 1931, five guards in an armoured vehicle took the first batch of 350 of the rarest books collected by Henry Clay and Emily Jordan Folger from New York to Washington. The books were unloaded at night and placed in the library that the Folgers had endowed and constructed. Although the new library’s guards were armed and there was originally a shooting gallery in its basement, the story of how the Folgers earned and spent their money is not at first glance a violent one. Henry Folger made his money in the oil business, working for John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil (SO). He mastered the whole set of processes by which oil was produced and turned into different commodities; his skill in gathering, analysing and presenting statistics resulted in thousands of memos and a place as a director of SO responsible for its accounts. When the company was broken up as a result of anti-trust hearings in 1911, Folger continued to work in the business and remained Rockefeller’s right-hand man, or, as Stephen H. Grant puts it in his joint biography of husband and wife, his “longtime factotum and executive employee”; Folger’s work in the oil business was at times “on the margins of the law”. 


Folger was born in 1857. He attended Amherst, graduating fifth in his class, studied law in New York and married Emily Clara Jordan in 1885. She was a year younger than him and had been educated at Vassar, after which she taught for six years at the Nassau Institute in Brooklyn; in 1896, she gained an MA from her old university with a thesis, supervised by the Variorum scholar Horace Howard Furness, on “The True Text of Shakespeare”. By all accounts, the marriage was an extremely happy one; the absence of children was offset by their extended families and by the books and manuscripts – “the boys” as they called them – the couple collected. They were ardent Congregationalists. Folger’s “epiphany” occurred in 1879 at Amherst when he heard the aged Ralph Waldo Emerson lecture. Their view of Shakespeare was essentially a Romantic and Transcendentalist one, although they both enjoyed going to the theatre, as long as the plays were uncut – Emily described the first American talking film of a play, The Taming of the Shrew (1930) with Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, as “Of course not Shakespeare, but entertaining”, characteristically adding “Besides, it’s amazing what 35 cents can offer!” 


During their long marriage, the diminutive couple (he was five foot four, she five foot) devoted themselves to collecting books, pictures and objects (relics made from the Stratford mulberry tree were especially sought after) related to Shakespeare. What started as “an agreeable recreation”, Henry Folger said, soon became “a delightful hobby” and eventually “rather a tyrannical master”. They pursued the subject with what comes over as a chilly obsessiveness. They avoided social life as much as they could, limited their time with their families, lived very frugally and modestly in rented homes, with rented furniture and a small domestic staff. Grant leaves little room to doubt that Folger was “tight with his money”; he haggled over prices with book dealers, doing his best to drive them down and “could be counted on to pay, but only on his terms”. Those terms included absolutely no publicity. An article on Folger, written nearly two decades after his death, described him as “shy, taciturn”, adding that he “lived by three rules: Never tell what you’ve done, what you are doing, or what you are going to do”. “The American public”, Grant says, “knew almost nothing about” Folger. The couple concealed the extent of their acquisitions, failing to mention in 1924 in the one interview they ever gave that by then they owned sixty-seven copies of the First Folio. They deflected inquiries from other scholars about their collection, would not help Sidney Lee in his census of copies of the First Folio and did not loan their books, most notoriously, keeping the first Quarto of Titus Andronicus (1594) that they had bought in 1905 for £2,000 out of sight until 1936. They acquired the site for the Library in Washington “through patience, secrecy, and subterfuge”; it took them nine years to secure the fourteen grand houses that had only been built in 1871 and for which they eventually paid $317,000. The construction site bore no indication of what was being built there; as Folger put it, “We are not seeking any advertising, in fact we are doing our best to avoid calling attention to the enterprise”. Amherst only learned of the bequest of the Library and his estate to the University when his will was published. 


[ . . . ]


Stephen H. Grant tells the story of the Folgers’ joint obsession clearly and efficiently; the illustrations he reproduces are particularly engaging. His concluding chapter deals with the Folger Library’s history after its founders’ deaths. Although the book is quite short, there is a certain amount of repetition in it (the fireplace in the baronial reading room remains unlit three times). Grant is happiest when describing the history of the couples’ two families and Folger’s business dealings, but Shakespeareans, book collectors and all who have worked at the Library and who love and admire it will enjoy Collecting Shakespeare. 

CFP: European Society for Textual Scholarship UPDATE

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.063  Friday, 13 February 2015


From:        Gabriel Egan < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         February 12, 2015 at 3:53:16 PM EST

Subject:    CFP Update


Apologies to SHAKSPERians for sending a Call for Papers for the European Society for Textual Scholarship meeting without the call deadline. It’s 15 May 2015. 


A revised CFP follows.


“Users of Scholarly Editions: Editorial Anticipations of Reading, Studying and Consulting”


The 12th Annual Conference of the European Society for Textual Scholarship (ESTS) will be held at the Centre for Textual Studies, De Montfort University, Leicester England 19-21 November 2015


The ESTS returns to Leicester where it was founded in 2001 to stage a major collective investigation into the state and future of scholarly editing. Our focus is the needs of users of scholarly editions and proposals for 20-minute papers are invited on topics such as:


* Are users’ needs changing?

* How does edition design shape use?

* Stability in print and digital

* Where are we in the study of mise en page?

* Facsimiles and scholarly editions

* Collaborative and social editing

* Editorial specialization in the digital age

* APIs and mashups versus anticipation

* The logic of annotation

* Is zero the best price point for editions?

* Readers versus users

* Can we assume a general reader'?

* Indexing and annotation versus search

* Editors, publishers and Open Access

* Is technology changing editing?

* Digital editions or digital archives?

* Are editions ever obsolete?

* Scholarly editions versus popular editions

* Any other topic related to the use or users of scholarly editions


Plenary Speaker (subject to confirmation) include:


Hans Walter Gabler (Munich University)

David Greetham (City University of New York)

Tim William Machan (Notre Dame University)

Gary Taylor (Florida State University)

Elaine Treharne (Stanford University)

Andrew Prescott (Glasgow University)


Hands-on workshops will be given on setting movable type, letterpress printing, and getting started with XML.


Proposals (max 300 words) for 20-minute papers should be emailed to Prof Gabriel Egan < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > by 15 May 2015


See for information and registration

Shakespeare on Screen

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.062  Tuesday, 10 February 2015


From:        Charles Weinstein < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         February 9, 2015 at 5:44:32 PM EST

Subject:    Shakespeare on Screen

>>Charles Weinstein writes:


>>In his new book Shakespeare and the English-Speaking Cinema, Russell 

>>Jackson, adapting Heminge and Condell, writes: “watch the films again – and 

>>again”.  That would be difficult, since most of them are not worth watching at 



>Help us out, Charlie. Which ones are worth watching?


>Joe Egert


1.  I don’t believe that any of them are worth watching for the purposes that Jackson is promoting, namely scholarly purposes.  My basic post on this topic (“Towards a New Dunciad,” 2002) may be found here:  I later summarized one of its main points as follows:  


“Whatever the angle or perspective, no matter how approached or how viewed, these movies aren’t good enough or important enough to be the subject of an academic discipline. Scholars who devote attention to them are wasting their time; those who give courses in them are depriving their students of a proper education; those who publish books and articles on them are contributing to the decline of academic, intellectual and artistic standards.”


2.  I summarized another one of my main points as follows:  “The plays are masterpieces; the films are not; and the plays and the films are not interchangeable.”  That would seem to be crushingly obvious, but apparently isn’t in view of Jackson’s quoted statement.  


3.  Among the filmed Shakespeare plays that have appeared in the last 25 years (and I am referring to theatrical films), the only one that I would voluntarily re-see is Branagh’s Henry V.  I would also take another look at Paul Scofield’s Ghost, but at nothing else in Zeffirelli’s Hamlet.  My more specific comments as of 2002 (“A Renaissance in Need of Reformation”) may be found here:  I have seen nothing better since then.


--Charles Weinstein

Apply Now: Advanced Digital Humanities Institute at the Folger Institute this June

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.061  Tuesday, 10 February 2015


From:        Folger Institute < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         February 10, 2015 at 12:06:31 PM EST

Subject:    Apply Now: Advanced Digital Humanities Institute at the Folger Institute this June


Please forward this to your colleagues who work in the digital humanities, computer science, and other digital environments on your campus: 


“Early Modern Digital Agendas: Advanced Topics” seeks 15 DH scholars and practitioners to bring their own data sets to the Folger in Washington, DC, in the second half of June 2015.


Under the direction of Jonathan Hope, Professor of Literary Linguistics at the University of Strathclyde, visiting faculty and participants will conduct an advanced exploration of data creation and management followed by various forms of hands-on investigation, including text analytics, social network analysis, dimensionality reduction, and research process design. Attention will also be paid to historical reflection on the nature of “exemplarity” claims in humanistic argument.


This institute is supported by a generous grant from the NEH's Office of Digital Humanities. Further details, including the visiting faculty, curriculum, eligibility, and application materials and guidelines, may be found here:


The deadline is 2 March 2015.


Please feel free to contact me with any questions.



Owen Williams, Ph.D. 

Assistant Director for Scholarly Programs

The Folger Institute

Folger Shakespeare Library

201 East Capitol Street, SE

Washington, DC 20003

202 675 0352




Following on the success of the first “Early Modern Digital Agendas” institute—an intensive survey of the most current resources and methods in digital research to be found in July 2013—"Advanced Topics" is a second three-week NEH institute to be hosted by the Folger Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Jonathan Hope, Professor of Literary Linguistics at the University of Strathclyde, will direct an advanced exploration of data creation and management to be followed by various forms of hands-on investigation, including text analytics, social network analysis, dimensionality reduction, research process design, and even historical reflection on the nature of “exemplarity” claims in humanistic argument. It is supported by a $175,000 Institutes for Advanced Topics grant from the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities.


Program Details

The “Early Modern Digital Agendas: Advanced Topics” Institute will meet from 15 June through 1 July 2015, and admitted participants are expected to be in residence for the entire time. It will convene a technically advanced cohort of fifteen early modern digital humanists for scholarly assessment of the most effective tools by which data sets are gathered, curated, and analyzed. EMDA2015 will build in more time than its predecessor for application and experimentation with the tools to which its participants will be introduced; it will also encourage participants to bring their own data and, as often as is practical, process that data for analysis with the tools that the visiting faculty introduce. Details about the Institute’s curriculum are available.


Participants will reflect on the ways DH expands the universe of possible questions that literary scholars can ask while new technologies produce exponentially larger bodies of evidence faster than ever before. Among the questions visiting faculty will pose and consider with the participants: What is “data”? What transformations lie behind statistical analysis? How is corpus-wide variation being treated? What are the principles of visualization? The aim is to enable participants not just to perform analysis, or curate data, but to understand the processes they engage in—where they enable, how they restrict, and how they might be improved. It remains the Folger’s goal to ensure that DH practitioners question not only what is possible with digital tools, but why one would put them to certain uses, and at what costs.


Applicant Eligibility

This institute is designed primarily for college faculty and staff at U.S. institutions who study the texts, writing, and literature of early modern England. Qualified graduate students, independent scholars, and those employed by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations are eligible provided they can effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the institute. Priority in admission will go to applicants who are United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least the three years immediately preceding the application deadline. Foreign nationals teaching abroad at non-U.S. chartered institutions are eligible to apply; those who have collaborated or who plan to collaborate with U.S. partners in digital initiatives will be more competitive applicants.


An applicant need not have an advanced degree in order to qualify; adjunct and part-time lecturers are eligible to apply, as are staff in digital humanities centers, librarians, and others who are interested in participating in a scholarly assessment of the most effective tools by which data sets are gathered, curated, and analyzed. Individuals may not apply to study with a director who is a current colleague or a family member. Institute selection committees are advised that only under the most compelling and exceptional circumstances may an individual participate in an institute with a director or a lead faculty member who has guided that individual’s research.


Application Information

The Dear Colleague letter (in pdf) is written for all prospective applicants. It contains detailed information about the topic, participation requirements and expectations, and the academic and institutional setting.


All applicants must apply through the Folger Institute’s online application system. The application guidelines will undoubtedly answer many questions that applicants may have. Before submitting an application, they should review the curriculum to ensure that they can address the ways their work will benefit from and contribute to the institute’s goals. The application deadline is 2 March 2015.



Please send any questions to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


EMDA2015 Visiting Faculty


During “Early Modern Digital Agendas: Advanced Topics,” the scholars listed below will present their views and demonstrate practical applications of tools and approaches digital humanities:


Ruth Ahnert, Lecturer in Renaissance Studies, Queen Mary University of London

Sebastian Ahnert, Royal Society University Research Fellow, Cambridge

Erin Blake, Folger Head of Collection Information Services

Meg Brown, Folger/CLIR Fellow for Data Curation

Matthew Christy, Lead Programmer at the Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media and Culture (IDHMC), Texas A&M University

Alan B. Farmer, Associate Professor of English, The Ohio State University

Erika Farr, Head of Digital Archives, Emory University

Lisa Gitelman, Professor of English and of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University

Mike Gleicher, Professor of Computer Sciences, University of Wisconsin

David Hoover, Professor of English, New York University

Eric Johnson, Folger Director of Digital Access

Markus Krajewski, Professor of Media History and Studies, Universität Basel

Laura Mandell, Director of the Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media and Culture (IDHMC), Texas A&M University

Tony McEnery, Professor of Linguistics and English Language and Faculty Dean, Lancaster University

Trevor Muñoz, Associate Director, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities

Mike Poston, Folger Database Applications Specialist

Andrew Prescott, Professor of Digital Humanities, University of Glasgow

Goran Proot, Conservateur, Bibliothèque Mazarine

Jan Rybicki, Assistant Professor at the Institute of English Studies, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland

Paul Schaffner, Head of Electronic Text Production at the University of Michigan's Digital Production Library Service and the TCP Production Manager

Stephan Thiel, Studio NAND, Berlin

Ted Underwood, Associate Professor of English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Rebecca Welzenbach, TCP Project Outreach Librarian

Michael Witmore, Director, Folger Shakespeare Library

Heather Wolfe, Folger Curator of Manuscripts


EMDA2015 Curriculum


The following outlines the curriculum for the upcoming “Early Modern Digital Agendas: Advanced Topics” institute that will convene from mid-June through 1 July 2015. The application deadline is 2 March 2015. Please contact  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  with any questions.


General Overview

The institute will convene in the Folger Board Room, which has been recently upgraded in terms of its presentation technology and wireless access. All participants will be required to attend all sessions. The institute will meet from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. This schedule provides for a two-hour morning session and a three-hour afternoon session, with a generous break for lunch. The afternoon session also has a built-in break; participants and visiting faculty will join Folger staff and readers at the Library’s daily tea from 3:00 to 3:30 on weekdays. Weekly evening social events will allow for conversations to continue and community to build outside the sessions.


The schedule will allow for consultation among participants, faculty, and Folger staff. Discussions of assigned and pre-circulated readings will be led by the director and the visiting faculty, and links to digital exemplars and tools will be made available before presentations.

Week 1: 15-19 June 2015


Data: Creation, Management, and Curation

After orientations and community-formation steps, this week considers issues relating to the creation, management, and curation of data in early modern DH. That work begins by recognizing that most early modern digital projects have been—and will continue to be—built upon the corpus provided by the Text Creation Partnership. That project has transcribed the digital facsimiles found in Early English Books Online, which are themselves converted from mid-twentieth-century microfilms. The digital resources available to early modern scholars are more extensive than in many fields. But they are a product of the history of their creation, and participants will also investigate options beyond EEBO-TCP. Regardless of how text is produced, it must be managed and curated, and participants will discuss best practices in the field of data curation.


Monday morning will begin with an orientation necessary for work in a restricted-access, non-circulating, rare book library: reader registration will be followed by an introduction to the rules and regulations of the Reading Room in the course of a tour of the Library. Owen Williams will organize introductions to the Folger’s online catalogue, Hamnet, and growing digital repositories like LUNA. Underway since the mid-1990s, LUNA provides high-resolution imaging of collection material, made freely available online, with source master digital images and associated metadata. Participants will confer with the institute’s two Technical Assistants to configure wireless protocols and the like. Following these orientations, Professor Jonathan Hope and the participants will convene for a welcome lunch.


The first afternoon session will be crucial for community-building and accomplishing the agenda of the rest of the institute. Priorities include: (1) establishing a level of critical discussion which theorizes and contextualizes DH within the broad field of the humanities; and (2) establishing sub-groups within the institute which allow for the development of good inter-personal relations, the sharing of knowledge, and the creation of a supportive context in which participants’ research plans can be refined. The fifteen participants will meet in three sub-groups of five people each. In each sub-group, participants will introduce themselves and describe their work, research interests, and experience in early modern studies and DH. The institute will then reconvene as a whole, and each person will introduce another member of their sub-group. The aim of these introductions is to establish a research problem for each participant that relates to DH and for which the participant will develop a solution, a visualization, a guided approach, or a list of resources over the coming weeks. Professor Hope and Dr. Williams will also outline plans for the institute’s digital presence. They will point out EMDA2013’s success with live tweeting of presentations and discussions (with over 3,400 tweets); private wiki-sites for each sub-group to record ongoing work and allow sharing between participants; and a public blog to present the participants’ work and interim discoveries.


Professor Hope will draw upon the participants collective introductions to scope out the group’s sense of current issues—both theoretical and practical—that are of current concern in early modern digital humanities. This discussion will provide an overview of the meta-critical questions with which the institute is interested. Professor Hope will lead discussion of the first set of assigned texts that are concerned with not only the advanced analysis of data, but also with the particulars of how its creation affects the product being analyzed and the producer.


In a scholarly roundtable on Tuesday morning called “Historicizing Data,” Professors Lisa Gitelman (Professor of English and of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University) and Markus Krajewski (Professor of Media History and Studies, Universität Basel) will address the issue of what data is, how it overlaps with and differs from information, and discuss the importance of creating, historicizing, and curating it for scholarly applications and analysis. The panelists will draw participants’ attention to points in history (including early modernity) when the explosion of data and its technological manipulation framed new kinds of inquiry.


On Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Paul Schaffner (Head of Electronic Text Production at the University of Michigan’s Digital Production Library Service and the TCP Production Manager) and Rebecca Welzenbach (TCP Project Outreach Librarian) will discuss the Text Creation Partnership (TCP) component of EEBO, by which a growing proportion of EEBO’s books are available in full-text form. For these advanced TCP users, they will provide an insiders’ look, describing not just how many books and bytes EEBO-TCP provides, but where the inconsistencies lurk, where the data may exhibit sufficient bias to affect analysis, what kinds of variation are present, and how significant they are. They will outline the creation process briefly before focusing on the effects of process and process-related constraints and what kinds of uses those effects would facilitate or impede. Dr. Schaffner and Ms. Welzenbach will also sketch out the likely future of EEBO-TCP beyond the eventual Phase II release, especially concerning ways the project plans to maintain and preserve the data’s reliability and permanence while anticipating multiple (and dynamic) uses.


While EEBO-TCP is the primary source for most textually based early modern DH work, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is potentially another way to create texts on a large scale from EEBO. Professor Laura Mandell (Director of the Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media and Culture (IDHMC), Texas A&M University) and Matthew Christy (Lead Programmer at IDHMC, Texas A&M University) will introduce the OCR process of data creation over two days. On Wednesday morning, they will demonstrate how to access mechanically typed texts from EEBO (Early English Books Online) and ECCO (Eighteenth Century Collections Online) documents through the Mellon-funded early Modern OCR Project (eMOP). These documents can then be used in all the tools that Mandell and Christy will introduce as available for the EEBO and ECCO texts, including the Cobre tool for comparing editions and witnesses of the same text; the Aletheia Web Layout (AWL) editor for documenting paratextual data like marginalia and glosses; and TypeWright, a tool for correcting any errors in the mechanically typed text and outputting either plain text or TEI-encoded text that can be further processed to create a digital edition.


On Thursday morning, Christy and Mandell will also demonstrate how to train Tesseract by using an IDHMC tool called Franken+, which generates an ideal early modern document in a specific font. Afterwards, in a hands-on session, participants can select documents from their own projects or from the thousands of high-resolution images found in the Folger’s LUNA digital repository. Participants will be shown how to use Tesseract, an open-access OCR engine, with training libraries that have been made by Christy to run Tesseract on early modern documents, and then will have the opportunity to OCR their own page images. Results will be shown on the eMOP dashboard that indicates which pages need to be processed further. In the afternoon, Christy and Mandell will conclude their workshop with another hands-on session tailored to the participants’ interests that allows them to take full advantage of the available tools that can be applied to their own texts. Participants may choose from several options: take the plain text they have corrected and manipulate it in Voyant-tools; edit their documents in order to make a digital edition; work in Cobre to compare their document to other editions or witnesses in EEBO or ECCO; or use AWL to mark up interesting features of the page not captured by metadata. At the end of the two days of alternating presentation and hands-on work, the goal is to give participants some idea of the range of possibilities available through OCR and related tools.


The first week concludes with discussion focusing on of the management and curation of data, whether it is produced through TCP, OCR, or transcription and TEI-encoding. On Thursday afternoon, Dr. Erika Farr (Head of Digital Archives, Emory University) and Dr. Trevor Muñoz (Associate Director, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH)) discuss the need for good file management practices including data back-up, consistent file naming, and adherence to standards (e.g. metadata and file formats). The importance of maintaining preservation-quality storage either locally or through cloud-based services will be addressed. Farr and Muñoz will help participants synthesize the many elements of preservation and curation into practical and actionable data management plans for their own projects as well as to develop strategies for sharing data that are relevant and valuable to their communities of practice.


One of the main limitations of EEBO-TCP and eMOP’s OCR processing is that they are restricted to print sources. Dr. Heather Wolfe (Folger Curator of Manuscripts and Project Director of Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) project), and Mike Poston (Folger Database Applications Specialist and principal developer of the EMMO database) will introduce the Folger’s own ambitious project to encode a non-print corpus. They will demonstrate current developments in online manuscript transcription and tagging, discuss the challenges of building a manuscript corpus, and encourage the participants to think about the pros and cons of various output models.


The Institute wraps up the week with a turn to Folger projects and the role of a library in shaping DH. Eric Johnson (the Folger Shakespeare Library’s first Director of Digital Access), Dr. Erin Blake (Head of Collection Information Services), and Dr. Meg Brown (Folger/CLIR Fellow for Data Curation) will offer a roundtable presentation on how the Folger curates data and knowledge generated by its staff and others. They will discuss Folger’s federated search, open-access wikis, and other initiatives. Dr. Williams will chair the session.


With reference to their own projects discussed at the beginning of the week, participants will share their experiences using EEBO-TCP as a research and teaching tool, OCR as an alternative for early modern text creation, and the TEI-encoding projects they might want to undertake. Readings for the second week will be distributed, assignments set, and the Technical Assistants will support the installation of requisite software as needed.


Week 2: 22-26 June 2015

Data Analysis: Statistical, Linguistic, Visual, Network


For many scholars of early modern English, DH is equated with the analysis of data. Following from the hands-on demonstrations of advanced data creation, management, and curation in week one, the second week will feature a series of experts who will discuss the principles of analysis before shifting to advanced techniques in the most challenging areas of DH. Object lessons will be taken from major projects currently underway that expand the set of data available to scholars and the tools through which they are created and accessed. The participants will consider the theories and applications of statistical analysis that underlie so much of the analytical work done in the field before turning to advanced corpus analysis. Presentations on visualization and its design will likewise return participants to first principles. How does visualization impede or advance access to patterns now intelligible with DH techniques? How can visualizations support what John Tukey called “exploratory analysis” of data rather than statistical description? Quantitative network analysis (QNA) is a burgeoning field in early modern studies that will be presented by two of its leading practitioners. Week 2 will be rounded out by a case study that brings together many of the topics addressed during the week, including Principal Components Analysis (PCA), topic modeling, and visualization.


Professor Hope will begin with discussion on the nature of the transformations scholars perform on texts when subjecting them to statistical analysis. To what extent is this analogous to “traditional” literary criticism, in as much as it involves comparison and assessment of similarity and difference? To what extent does it depart from the “traditional,” changing the object of study, and the mode of argument? Building on the “Historicizing Data” roundtable in Week 1, can scholars better understand the fundamentals of statistical analysis by thinking about the historical development of libraries and their catalogues? Libraries organized by subject “project” their books into three-dimensional space, so that books with similar content are found next to each other. Many statistical procedures function similarly, projecting books into hyper-dimensional spaces, and then using distance metrics to identify similarity and difference within the complex mathematical spaces the analysis creates. Once DH scholars understand the geometry of statistical comparison, they can grasp the potential literary significance of the associations identified by counting—and can begin to understand the difference between statistical significance and literary significance, and realize that it is the job of the literary scholar, not the statistician, to decide on the latter.


In the afternoon, Professor Alan B. Farmer (Associate Professor of English, The Ohio State University) and Dr. Goran Proot (Conservateur, Bibliothèque Mazarine) will present work derived from physical examinations of early modern books and from curated metadata of what are called “short title catalogues.” Professor Farmer will discuss using the print Short-Title Catalogue of English titles and the online English Short Title Catalogue to examine the ephemerality of different kinds of publications in the book trade of early modern England. He will consider the relative impact of format, leaf counts, edition-sheets, genre, and binding on the likelihood of entire editions becoming lost, as well as the topic of how lost editions might change our sense of the larger English book trade. He will also address certain methodological issues involved in using both online catalogues and printed reference works in order to conduct this kind of research. Dr. Proot will work with the Short Title Catalogue Flanders (STCV) and the Universal Short Title Catalogue to elucidate and uncover the data that can be recovered about the material object through statistical analysis of format, typography, and title-page layout. In comparing this data with the book production of other regions on the European Continent, Dr. Proot will also raise some quantitative questions concerning how representative the existing corpus of early English titles is and what types of books were most likely to be lost. Dr. Proot will discuss the importance of Sammelbände (volumes consisting of more than one edition or title) for survival rates, the importance of leaf counts, and the impact of the English (bibliophile) book trade from the late eighteenth-century to the present. Both Professor Farmer and Dr. Proot examine printing cycles and trends, the economies of the early modern book trade, and the statistical analysis of material objects through physical analysis and metadata. Together, their presentations will illuminate the vital frontiers between DH and the book history field.


On Tuesday, Professors Tony McEnery (Professor of Linguistics and English Language and Faculty Dean, Lancaster University), David Hoover (Professor of English, New York University), and Jan Rybicki (Assistant Professor at the Institute of English Studies, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland) will introduce recent advances in corpus linguistics and stylometrics and their applications for literary analysis. Professor McEnery will survey the history of corpus linguistics before reviewing several areas in detail. He will guide discussion on the key techniques used in corpus linguistics, principally collocation and keyword analysis. He will look at the use of corpora to explore language change through time, a key topic for the study of the literature in the early-modern period. He will explore a recent development in corpus linguistics that is of interest to scholars in the study of literature in particular, namely the use of GIS techniques to visually comprehend literature and related materials, e.g. author’s letters. Professors Hoover and Rybicki will then join the discussion. Professor Hoover will provide an overview of stylometric research as it applies to English literature by drawing on his deep experience in the field. Following this, the session will shift to a hands-on approach to literary analysis. Professor Rybicki will provide the participants with suitable electronic literary texts (if they do not have their own), start them on a stylometric analysis of the texts using the stylo R package (or its spring 2015 descendant), and further process the results with network analysis software (e.g., Gephi). The goal is for each participant to have a network graph to share by the end of the afternoon. Time permitting, participants will discuss their own experiences with corpus linguistics analysis and the tools they have employed. They will also propose the best visualization work they have seen and discuss affordances and shortcomings in preparation for upcoming presentations.


The institute moves on to the fundamental principles of data visualization and its related processes from a practical design perspective. Visiting faculty will not only provide the experience of critiquing existing visualizations and tools, but will also model design challenge exercises to help participants practice applying the concepts. Professor Mike Gleicher (Professor of Computer Sciences, University of Wisconsin) and Stephan Thiel (Studio NAND, Berlin) will lead a day of sessions on visualization techniques, tools, and workflows. Professor Gleicher will explore the foundations of data visualization: how we turn data into pictures to help in understanding or communicating it. He will review principles of human perception, statistics, and design to develop a basis for “Data Science” before discussing the unique challenges of applying these tools to humanities scholarship. Participants will develop their skills at analyzing visualizations, allowing them to practice critiquing visualizations to understand how specific designs can help with data interpretation and communication. Professor Gleicher will not advocate any particular visualization tools or approaches, but rather provide participants with a foundation in visualization and analysis that can help them understand the potential for visualization in their work, assess tools and techniques, create and adapt visual designs to fit their needs, and better communicate with visualization developers and designers.


Mr. Thiel, a visualization designer, will describe the processes related to visualization and analysis from a practical design perspective. He will explain the high-level design process behind emoto, the award-winning data visualization artwork for the 2012 London Olympic Games, to reflect on the project’s design decisions. He will guide participants through the entire process of visualization design. Participants will get the chance to explore the hands-on process of visualization using a mix of existing (e.g., Tableau or Lyra) and custom software tools that do not require programming knowledge. Participants will be invited to use either their own data or a prepared set of thirty-seven German translations of Act 1, Scene 3 from Shakespeare’s Othello from the TransVis project on which Mr. Thiel is collaborating.


Although much theoretical work has been done elucidating networks, from Jean François Lyotard’s evocative description of the postmodern self as a “nodal point” to Tiziana Terranova’s analysis of global network culture in “Free Labor,” surprisingly little work has addressed the question: why networks? What is the conceptual power of networks? Dr. Ruth Ahnert (Lecturer in Renaissance Studies, Queen Mary University of London) and Dr. Sebastian Ahnert (Royal Society University Research Fellow, Cambridge) bring expertise on early modern literature and network science to the study of large early modern letter collections. Network analysis is a highly interdisciplinary field that has grown rapidly over the past fifteen years as a result of the ubiquity of network data in everyday life. Drs. Ahnert will introduce participants to the basic ways in which network connectivity can be quantified. Their recent publication on Protestant letter networks (English Literary History 82.1) has shown how various network measurements can highlight the different roles that individuals play in a correspondence network, including those who inhabit crucial infrastructural roles without necessarily writing many letters. This application will serve as an example of the kinds of historical and literary questions that network analysis can help us to answer. Drs. Ahnert will then provide a practical, step-by-step guide to turning historical records into data suitable for computational analysis. They will use their current work, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), on the massive archive of Tudor State Papers Online as an example of the steps involved, including the disambiguation of individuals and places, the classification of relationships between people, and decisions on how to include the temporal dimension of correspondence networks. Leading from this, Drs. Ahnert will introduce participants to a variety of network visualization and analysis tools with different technical skill requirements, such as Gephi and the Python NetworkX library. As part of a hands-on tutorial session, participants will have the opportunity either to explore a sample dataset or learn how to convert their own data into a network dataset for analysis.


One of the most striking methodological issues facing researchers is the vast quantity of data that is becoming available, as corpora shift from 40 texts to 400, and then to 400,000. If scholars are focused on a history of words, then such data sets are an advantage. But when scholarship seeks to move beyond words to study the development of genres, for example, then the quantities of data pose significant challenges for the researcher. On Friday afternoon, Professor Hope, Professor Gleicher, and Dr. Mike Witmore (Director, Folger Shakespeare Library) will demonstrate the tools being developed as part of the “Visualizing English Print” (VEP) project, a major Mellon-funded initiative. Its team seeks to develop tools and protocols that enable researchers to analyze and visualize the data being made available through EEBO-TCP and other archives. Dr. Witmore will explore with the group a number of approaches that have grown up alongside the tools being developed within VEP, providing several case studies that have developed out of this group’s work with EEBO-TCP texts drawn from the years 1530-1799. Emphasizing the need for corpus-wide findings to engage existing and emerging questions in literary studies, Dr. Witmore will focus on three areas where those findings seem relevant: the apparent distinctiveness of Shakespearean drama as compared with early modern drama more generally, the relationship between fictional prose (the novel) and works of “moral philosophy,” and the relationship of literary genre to authorship.


Week 3: 29 June-1 July 2015

The Implications of Digital/At-Scale Research for the Field of Literary Studies


In the third week, Professor Hope will redirect participants’ attention to the challenges digital tools and methods pose to literary studies and scholars. He will also broaden the scope of the institute’s agenda to the larger (period) ecosystems of DH. Challenges range from the practical ones of how scholars collaboratively conceive a digital project and organize its workflow, interoperability and sustainability, to fundamental questions about the basis, aims, and procedures of literary studies. To facilitate discussion, participants will be joined by two of the most trenchant practitioners and theorists of DH: Professors Andrew Prescott (Professor of Digital Humanities, University of Glasgow, and Digital Fellow with the AHRC, in which role he leads and advises on almost all UK DH funding) and Ted Underwood (Associate Professor of English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). Prescott is a medievalist, with expertise in imaging, and a keen sense of the history of DH and computational approaches to the humanities generally; Underwood works on mainly nineteenth-century materials, but his publications have consistently raised the issue of what literary scholars must take responsibility for if they are to use digital methods critically and effectively. Underwood has argued that DH poses a challenge for literary scholars who are used to basing their arguments on “turning points” and exceptions, whereas digital evidence, usually collected at scale, typically tells stories about continuity and gradual change. The discussions will focus on this, using the projects of participants as examples: do digital corpora and tools place DH practitioners at the dawn of a new world, or are they just in for more (or a lot more) of the same?


To provide the institute’s coda, participants will prepare and then deliver individual presentations, in which they will be charged to respond to the institute’s themes and lay out plans and issues for their future research. They will discuss what they have learned, speculate on what needs to be done or made available to researchers in the field, and describe what they have been inspired to investigate. They will also indicate what their continuing contribution to the Institute’s digital presence will be. In EMDA2013, these sessions were extremely successful, even celebratory, as they generated offers of support and collaboration. Again in EMDA2015, these sessions also mark the beginning of the lasting digital presence that the participants will create.

Shakespeare on Screen

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.060  Monday, 9 February 2015


From:        Joseph Egert < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         February 7, 2015 at 3:50:31 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Screen


 Charles Weinstein writes:


>In his new book Shakespeare and the English-Speaking Cinema, Russell 

>Jackson, adapting Heminge and Condell, writes: “watch the films again – and 

>again”.  That would be difficult, since most of them are not worth watching at 



Help us out, Charlie. Which ones are worth watching?


Joe Egert

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 6 of 11

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.