Long-Lost 17th-Century Poet Gets Digital Treatment

By Jeffrey Day

For a long time, analyzing a literary work consisted of creating a “definitive edition,” which might be supplanted a decade or two later. Or maybe never. English professor Frances Dolan is part of a project that offers a new approach for literary analysis, one better aligned with the high-speed information exchange possible today.

Hester Pulter’s poems were recently discovered in a university library. (University of Leeds Brotherton Collection)

“The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making,” built around poems by little-known 17th century writer Hester Pulter, allows for a more collaborative, creative, richer and rapid exchange of ideas about a work. In the “digital collaboration” users can examine the original manuscript, toggle between various versions of the poems, and read analysis of the poems and other writing from the period.

“The relatively recent ‘discovery’ of Pulter and the extraordinary interest of the poetry offered us a unique opportunity,” Dolan said. “The highly collaborative and inventive spirit of the project has made it remarkable as an ongoing process.”

More information

English Professor Explores Rediscovered Writer for Groundbreaking ‘Digital Collaboration’ (UC Davis College of Letters and Science)

In the 1600s Hester Pulter wondered, ‘Why must I forever be confined?’ – now her poems are online for all to see (The Conversation)

Jeffrey Day is a content strategist for the UC Davis College of Letters and Science. Follow him at @ucdavisjaaday. This post originally appeared on the College’s research blog, Did You Know?

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