The Shelley-Godwin Archive draws primarily from the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and the Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle at NYPL, which together hold an estimated 90 percent of all known relevant manuscripts worldwide. MITH is creating the project’s infrastructure with the assistance of the New York Public Library’s digital humanities group, NYPL Labs. With the Archive’s creation, manuscripts and early editions of these writers will be made freely available to the public through an innovative framework constituting a new model of best practice for research libraries.
The project is currently in its initial phase. In this first phase, project partners will digitize copies of Shelley’s major philosophical poem, Queen Mab; the first two volumes of Mary Shelley’s journals; and manuscripts of two novels by William Godwin, Fleetwood and Cloudesley. In addition they will make available the ten volumes of Shelley and his Circle. In its final incarnation, project partners anticipate that the Archive will comprise digital images of all the major extant manuscripts of the four principal authors, and selections from their correspondence.
Tools and functions will include capacity to collate texts, the ability to overlay images of the original printed editions, compare images side by side, search full text, and tag text with user annotations. The prototype will be assessed both by undergraduate and graduate students, and by a group of established specialists drawn largely from the project’s Advisory Board. At all points the project staff will have the benefit of advice from this Board, which includes the top scholars in both Romantic literature and the digital humanities. NYPL and its institutional colleagues are committed to developing and maintaining this archive as a flexible, versatile and potent source for the study of British Romanticism by teachers, students, scholars and lovers of poetry and history at all levels.