The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Time writing

Telescopium Uranicum, 1666. Folger 269- 460q item 5 Chronograms—literally, “time writing”—are dates embedded within text. As such, they are a form of hidden writing called steganography: the encoded characters maintain their own value, but are hidden within a larger text. Easily calculable to those who know what they’re looking for, they still excite the thrill of uncovering secret meaning. That thrill was experienced by this cataloger when, for the first time ever, she came across a chronogram that had been previously unremarked.… Continue Reading

Enter Miranda: the Folger’s new digital platform

“Admired Miranda! Indeed the top of admiration, worth What’s dearest to the world!” William Shakespeare’s The Tempest (3.1.47-50) Miranda’s home page offers a chance to search by format, genre, date ranges, or language. The Folger Shakespeare Library is thrilled to announce the launch of the prototype for Miranda, our new digital platform. Over the next two years, Miranda will become the home for our digital collections, from book records to transcriptions, images, sound files, podcasts, videos, and datasets.… Continue Reading


Early modern legal violence: for the common good?

A guest post by Dr. Sarah Higinbotham In a 1628 sermon preached before the Assize court at Oxford, Robert Harris reminds the “Sheriffes, Iustices, [and] Iudges” that they have taken “an oath for the common good.” He reminds them that they work for the people, not for power: they are to “plucke the spoile out of the teeth of the mighty” “and to bestride [their] poore brother, when hee is stricken downe.” But even the most cursory Hamnet searches of “justice” reveal the law’s violence against the poor, in particular.… Continue Reading

Lost at Sea

Shakespeare liked shipwrecks, including one in at least five of his plays. Sea storms and shipwrecks were a convenient way to separate characters or bring them into conflict, as well as stranding them in a strange place. In the “Age of Exploration,” sea voyages became enticingly more possible over time, in spite of the dangers. But although Shakespeare himself never sailed to new lands, his printed words have circled the globe.… Continue Reading

Report from the field: network analysis

A guest post by Dr. Ruth Ahnert In July 2017 the Folger Institute welcomed participants and faculty to the third of its Early Modern Digital Agendas (EMDA) gatherings—an NEH-funded Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities. The EMDA institutes train early modern scholars in digital methods, digital tools, and theoretical frameworks, exposing them to the latest methods and thinking in the field, with faculty drawn from academia and beyond.… Continue Reading

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