¶ Dear readers,
¶ As a researcher, the internet and the mass of digital projects in recent years has evened the playing field unlike that of any previous generation. The out-pouring of open-source and digitization projects of materials already out of copyright has meant that if you have access to the web, you have access to the texts of the early modern world.
¶ Moving toward the end of the semester, I try to use my pedagogical energies to start designing for next fall’s courses while I am still in that mind. It is increasingly difficult to get students to buy pre-copyright texts because they have access to them for free online, so good digital editions are of increasing importance. If they aren’t going to buy the book, it is a salve to have online sources I trust to which to point them. Here are a few sources, organized around a single author, that include the kind of critical apparatus and ease of use I look for in print teaching editions.
Thomas Gray Archive
¶ The Thomas Gray Archive is a collaborative digital archive and research project devoted to eighteenth-century poet, letter-writer, and scholar Thomas Gray (1716-1771), author of the acclaimed “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” (1751). Founded in 2000, the Archive’smission is to facilitate and support the study, research, and teaching of Gray’s life and works. Primary texts in poems, prose, and letters; a number of excellent supplementary resources; and a lively social media presence. For more, click here.
Richard Brome Online
¶ Richard Brome Online is an online edition of the collected works of the Caroline dramatist, Richard Brome. The edition not only makes the texts accessible to scholars and theatre practitioners, but also begins to explore their theatricality visually, serving as inspiration to encourage more frequent staging of Brome’s works. Of particular note is the facing-page layout of the quartos alongside modernized versions. For more, click here.
The John Milton Reading Room
¶ Having begun as a student-generated project back in 1997, the John Milton Reading Room is an expansive collection of all of Milton’s prose and verse works, supplemented with substantial critical commentary and apparatus. The project has remained up-to-date, going through a major overhaul in 2014, with ongoing support from Dartmouth College and the NEH. It is the only non-print Areopagitica I trust. For more, click here.
¶ May these lesson plans be ever in your favor!
Rejoice, mackerels! and whatever fish are in the brine, who, frigid, spend the winter in the cold abyss; that compassionate knight, Sir Salmon, plans to clothe your nakedness, and prodigal of foolscap, has prepared paper cowls for you, bearing the insignia, name and honor of Claudius Salmasius, so that, as the knight’s servants you may carry them all across the fish market, most welcome in the haunts of those who wipe their noses on their sleeves.
—from Milton’s epigram to “The Second Defense of the English People” (1654)