Digital Ecology: Glossing The Tempest

The Folger Digital editions of Shakespeare’s texts are great. Arguably, Shakespeare’s books are more at home on the interwebs than in a codex. Since there is no gloss, readers get a seemingly unfiltered reading experience. I say seeming for a few reasons. 1. All the texts bear the trace of editions, authors, productions, and readers that have before and will come in the future; and 2. web texts negotiate dense points of inter-connectivity. The big difference for us as we read The Tempest online, many of us for the very first time, is we can choose connections between words in Shakespeare’s text and the rest of the web.

We can write papers if you want, or we could do the following potentially more fun and useful project:

  1. Choose an entire scene from The Folger Library Digital Text edition of The Tempest
  2. Write a 750-1000 word headnote explaining how the scene you chose and the way you glossed the scene makes an creative intervention into otherwise stagnant environmental rhetoric.
  3. Gloss the scene by linking out words, phrases, terms, etc. to web or static sources. Remember to gloss is to interpret, so when you link the text out to sources beyond, you do so in support of your argument. You can cut and paste the scene of your choice from MIT open source Shakespeare.
  4. For full credit you are required to link to a variety of online sources–TBD
  5. 600-1000 or so words at the end of the glossed text explaining the editorial choices you made and why you made them
  6. Works Cited

Here’s a really short example I threw together from Hamlet:

To my knowledge I am the first person to accuse Hamlet of being a hoarder. And though I intend to think the play alongside contemporary invocations of the term in pursuit of a post-apocalyptic environmentalism (and as directed by Jane Bennett, who’s work inspires this project), the Anglo-Saxon definitions of the terms hoarder and hoard are a part of Hamlet’s inheritance. For instance, the third time Horatio commands the ghost of Old Hamlet to explain why he haunts the castle grounds Horatio enjoins:

O speak!

Or if thou has uphoarded in thy life

Extorted treasure in the womb of earth—

For which they say you spirits oft walk in death—

Speak of it, stay and speak” (1.1.116-20).

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