Tuesday, August 18, 2015

UNCG’s Hodgkins Awarded 3-Year NEH Grant to Create Digital Edition of George Herbert's Works, Using Special Collections and University Archives Resources

Christopher Hodgkins, Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has been awarded a $250,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Scholarly Editions Grant. The money will be used to support co-editor Hodgkins and Robert Whalen of Northern Michigan University (NMU), in producing George Herbert: Complete Prose, with Latin and Greek Verse.
A once-in-several-generations project, Hodgkins’s and Whalen’s edition will provide a foundational resource for Herbert studies. When completed, it will include digital captures of all known manuscripts and first print editions of Herbert’s works—all of the latter housed in the Special Collections of UNCG’s Walter Clinton Jackson Library. The edition also will present original-spelling transcriptions linked to the high-resolution images of each manuscript or print page; edited texts, partially modernized; translations of the Latin and Greek works; and a scholarly apparatus that includes a full set of textual and critical annotations. Constructed as an XML database, the finished product will yield both a digital version accessible and searchable through conventional web browsers and a manuscript for print publication. Together with generous support from UNCG and NMU, the award funds all aspects of production over a three-year period.

George Herbert (1593-1633) was a near contemporary of John Donne and William Shakespeare, public orator at Cambridge University and a priest in the Church of England before the English Civil War.  He is best known, however, as one of the “metaphysical” poets and author of The Temple, widely considered the finest volume of devotional verse in the language. A poet’s poet, his influence as a master of form and technique has reached across the centuries to inform the works of Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, T. S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, Philip Larkin, Seamus Heaney and Geoffrey Hill, to name but a few of his artistic progeny.

Complete Prose, with Latin and Greek Verse is a major expansion of Hodgkins’s and Whalen’s previous edition of Herbert’s English poetry, The Digital Temple. This earlier project, also funded by the NEH, was published in 2013 by University of Virginia Press and selected that year by the American Library Association’s Choice as one of its Outstanding Academic Titles. It can be found by all UNCG students, faculty, and staff at http://digitaltemple.rotunda.upress.virginia.edu/ via the Databases supported by the Jackson Library.

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