Shakespeare goes online

Updated: Apr 03, 2008, 09:59 AM IST

London, April 03: All the 75 pre-1641 editions of William Shakespeares plays will soon be available online.

The quartos, Shakespeares earliest printed editions, will be a freely-accessible single digital online collection.

The one-year Shakespeare Quartos Archive project by the University of Oxfords Bodleian Library and the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, starts this month.

In the absence of surviving manuscripts, the quartos offer the closest known evidence of what the great playwright might actually have written, and what appeared on the early modern English stage.

They are of immense interest to scholars, teachers, editors, and theatre directors. But due to their rarity and fragility, the earliest quartos are not readily available for most to study.

The Shakespeare Quartos Archive will make these earliest quartos freely accessible for in-depth study to Shakespeare students across the globe.

The projects website will feature high-resolution reproductions and the full text of surviving Shakespeare quartos in an interactive interface.

Users will be able to overlay text images, compare images side-by-side, search the full text, and mark and tag text images with their own annotations.

These online functions will facilitate scholarly research, performance studies, and new pedagogical applications.

In the first instance, this full functionality will apply to all 32 copies of Hamlet also.

Bureau Report