Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Muse Explores the Rossetti Archive

All things Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), from the poetry of the English pre-Raphaelite to images of paintings, letters, manuscripts, and designs, are found in the Rossetti Archive. Created between 2000 and 2008, the Web-optimzed archive is home to a wealth of textual and pictorial materials in Rossetti's 1879 volume Poems, 1861 book of translations The Early Italian Poets, and the 1881 publications Ballads and Sonnets and Poems: A New Edition

Materials in this rich archive are arranged chronologically and alphabetically under the headings Double Works (included is an interactive Timeline), Pictures (Rossetti's artwork, also with a Timeline), Poems (plus Timeline), Prose, Translations, Books, Manuscripts, Correspondence, and Material Design. Under this latter heading are found an A-to-Z list of craft design work, including, for example, architectural sketches, book bindings, and designs for furniture, wallpaper, titles, and jewelry, as well as monograms and stationery. Contextual material appears in Related Texts (critical and historical materials to enhance the study of Rossetti's work), Visual Works by Other Artists that relate directly to Rossetti's work or illuminate it, and Contemporary Periodicals. A representative Bibliography and list of cited works rounds out the principal offerings. Substantive and substantial editorial commentary, notes, and glosses enhance the primary source materials.

Currently, all the documents in the the archive are coded so that they may be searched by title, phrase, genre, name, and date; included is a boolean search function also. 

guide to additions to the archive, though additions are not made regularly, is available.

The site is a marvelous example of what can be done to promote research, scholarship, and education when public and private institutions and collectors work together. (See list of contributors here.) Users should note that permission has been granted for the use in the archive of textual and pictorial documents and that all rights to the documents are reserved and under copyright.

Also noted on the site is an open-source pilot aggregation of 19th Century resources, called Nines (Network Infrastructure for Nineteenth-century Electronic Scholarship) designed to make available peer-reviewed online scholarly work on British and American literature and culture. When completed, it will be integrated fully into the archive to facilitate users' collection and annotation of the archive's digital objects and to permit customizable online exhibits of peer-reviewed texts and images. Two such exhibits are in development: a biographical introduction to Rossetti and a chronology of Rossetti's life and work.

Sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, University of Virginia, the archive is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Grants and other support have come from IBM, University of Virginia, University of Michigan Press, and J. Paul Getty Trust. Many programmers and analysts, consultants, research assistants, and others contributed to the creation of the archive.

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