As I think I have mentioned previously, last spring I was fortunate enough to spend some time in England and Italy on a Mellon fellowship related to my research. I stayed a few extra weeks to do additional sight-seeing with my mother and grandmother. Mom is a high school English teacher, so Stratford-Upon-Avon was a must; hence the photo above. This month, I wanted to share the resources to which I regularly turn when on the road but in need of Shakespeare’s primary texts. Naturally these are digital in nature, but each lends itself to a specific context. I’ve included screenshots of the first page of The Tempest in each for the sake of comparison (click on them for a larger version of the image).
- Open Source Shakespeare: As perhaps the penultimate DH experiment that is eminently, well, open-source in nature, this is the site I go to first. Sometimes while listening at a conference there is a passing phrase I want to check, or do a word-count or cross-reference to the rest of the canon against contemporary plays. The power here is in the clarity of the interface and its search-ability: by play, genre, part, date, and of course discrete terms. It is a very short step from being deployable for topic modeling, for which I hope it will evolve. You can add a search box to your browser and the site is mobile-optimized: just click here.
- Shakespeare Pro for iPhone and iPad: These apps I regularly use while literally on the move—in a car or on the Amtrak headed to Chicago. I don’t recommend them for reading a play in its entirety, nor to do extensive searching, but you can do piece-meal versions of both with this app. As a researcher, often I need to be refreshed on a particular scene, need to see the rhetorical context of a specific moment, or trace the movements of a speech as a whole. I’ve seen more than one interview with Sir Patrick Stewart online in which he references turning to his cellphone for similar reasons. Learn more about the apps here.
- Folger Digital Texts: This is perhaps the most rigorous online format for actually reading the plays in a multimodal way. There is the text, searchable, with readings and other interactive elements beautifully designed. Because the site is developed by Folger, it retains the mansplain-y element of summaries and synopsis in a left-hand column, mirroring their print editions of Shakespeare. I don’t use Folger editions to teach specifically because of this feature, though I know many that do. In either case, the digital environment here makes for a beautiful reading experience geared towards the classroom.