Past and Present Projects

In its previous incarnation as part of the Centre for Technology and the Arts and since its inauguration as the Centre for Textual Studies in 2006, the CTS has been the home for a series of ground-breaking digital research projects that have brought literary and historical texts to new readers in new forms and enabled new kinds of textual research. Those projects, past and present, and briefly described here and links on the left take you the websites (some static and effectively archived, others live and still growing) where the texts are kept.

Present, active projects

Shakespeare's Early Editions (based at CTS 2016-2018) This £312,000 AHRC-funded research project, led by CTS Director Professor Gabriel Egan, will use computational methods to explore the differences between the quarto and Folio versions of his plays to see if they can be quantified and explained in terms of textual corruption and authorial and non-authorial revision. The project will be hiring a Post-Doctoral Research Associate with computer programming expertise to assist Prof Egan in running experiments in computational stylistics on electronic texts of the early editions of Shakespeare. After one year of experiments the project will launch a Travelling Roadshow tour of the United Kingdom to bring practical classes and interactive demonstrations--employing professional actors and incorporating hands-on construction exercises--to show university audiences and the general public how it is that computers can assist in the analysis of literary and historical texts.

Iron Press (based at CTS 2014-) This project aims to reproduce rare historical letter-press type by 3D-scanning (laser and Computed Tomography) of the originals followed by computer-aided manufacture--routing, laser-cutting, printing, and sintering--of replica type in a range of materials such as wood, metal, resin and nylon. The project is funded by £13,300 from the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF).

Modernist Magazines (based at CTS 2006-present) This project is concerned with the hundreds of so-called 'little magazines' of the period 1880-1945 made by small, independent publishing ventures committed to new and experimental work. These were an indispensable forum for modernist innovation and debate, they helped sustain small artistic communities, strengthened the resolve of small iconoclastic groups keen to change the world, and gave many major modernists their first opportunities in print. Many of these magazines existed only for a few issues and then collapsed; but almost all of them contained work of outstanding originality and future significance. This project is creating a three-volume critical and cultural history of the magazines, an anthology of them and an online resource, comprising an index of magazines, and sample issues.

Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur (based at CTS 2006-present) Until 1934, this epic poem, central to an important strand of English Literature, was known only from early print editions. Then an independent authoritative manuscript was discovered in Oxford and the textual history of the poem began to be rewritten. This ongoing project begins with the new manuscript, which has been digitized and transcribed; now follows re-interpretation of its fresh evidence.

Elizabeth Jennings (based at CTS 2006-present) This project brings together poems by the highly popular British poet Elizabeth Jennings (1926-2001) and archival material about her, including her correspondence and extracts from her notebooks. Jennings was the only woman in the influential 'Movement' poetic group of the 1950s and became one of the best-selling poets of that generation.

Past, archived projects

Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (based at CTS 1998-2005) This ambitious project, which began before it came to De Montfort University and continues now that it has left, will produce scholarly critical editions of all of the Canterbury Tales by investigating all the surviving early manuscripts and printed editions.

Manuscript Access through Standards for Electronic Records (MASTER, based at CTS 1998-2001) This project developed a single online catalogue for all the medieval manuscripts in European libraries. This required creating a new, single standard for computer-readable manuscript records, as well as new made tools for creating the records and for mounting them an online manuscript union catalogue. The Extensible Markup Language (XML) standard for manuscript description that was developed by MASTER was later incorporated into the current version (P5) of the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), the world's most widely used set of standards of encoding literary and historical texts.

Hockliffe Collection of Children's Books (based at CTS 1999-2002) The Hockliffe Collection comprises 1,179 children's books, mainly from the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, that were collected by Frederic Hockliffe (1833-1914), a publisher and bookseller in the town of Bedford, UK. Hockliffe's son donated the books to Bedford Training College, which is now part of the University of Bedfordshire. While the collection was temporarily in the care of De Montfort University, this project produced a digital catalogue of the collection, provided an introductory essays to each book, and (for many but not all of them) offered a digital image of each opening of each book. The metadata--the catalogue records and the introductory essays--are full-text searchable, but the page-opening images have not been transcribed nor processed by Optical Character Recognition, so these cannot be searched. Thus remains work for another project to take forward the further development of this digital resource. It is offered here as an Open Access resource for all who are interested in the study of early British children's literature.

William Caxton's Editions of The Canterbury Tales (based at CTS 1999-2003) The pioneer of English printing, William Caxton, published two editions of the Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, the first in 1476 and the second in 1483 with the addition of woodcut illustrations. These early books (or, incunabula) are amongst the very first printed works and this project presents facsimiles and transcriptions of them as represented in the British Library copies at shelfmarks 167.c.26 and G.11586 respectively.

The Brownings' Correspondence January 1854 to August 1856 (based at CTS 2006-9) The part of this project that was begun by Peter Shillingsburg and completed by Andrew Thacker was to edit and explicate the surviving letters to or by Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning in the period January 1854 to August 1856, totalling 527 documents. The results will appear in print as volumes 20 and 21 of the 40-volume set called The Brownings' Correspondence covering the period 1809-89 and projected to contain over 11,000 documents. The letters are presented as annotated full texts in chronological order, with biographical sketches of principal correspondents, a checklist of supporting documents (with relevant extracts), reviews of the Brownings' poetical works, and an index. The Brownings' Correspondence is published by Wedgestone Press, which specializes in these writers. A link on the left takes you to the publisher's website. The project had no digital outputs.

Virginia Woolf's "Time Passes" from To The Lighthouse (based at CTS 2006-8) This project takes as its case study the experimental passage 'Time Passes' that forms the central sequence of Virginia Woolf's novel To the Lighthouse (1927). The aim is to bring together the different stages of writing that went into the making of 'Time Passes' to produce a record of its development, creating what is known as a genetic edition. The edition is annotated with contextual material, including records of what else Woolf was doing and writing at the time.