A Magnificent Resource

January 2, 2013

The 2012 edition of Studies in the Age of Chaucer includes an enthusiastic review of The Piers Plowman Electronic Archive, directed by English Department Professor Emeritus and IATH Fellow Hoyt Duggan. Prof. Duggan was one of the first IATH Fellows and began his collaboration with IATH in 1993. The review notes that "we are simply in a different research world from even ten years ago," with the growth of on-line scholarly resources. The PPEA's efforts are aimed at scholars and textual critics of the Piers poems, and provide manuscript descriptions that are "models of thoroughness," as well as detailed and definitive materials for physical and textual analysis of the manuscripts. The result is a "magnificent resource [that] takes pride of place in sophistication if not size among the many other massive digitizing projects in literary studies."

An abridged version of the review is available here. The full version requires access to Project MUSE content (freely available to users at many universities).

Stephen A. Barney's review covers a 7-volume set of compact disks, issued by The Society for Early English & Norse Electronic Texts (SEENET). These CDs offer full editions of the manuscripts and XML mark-up. The project web site offers tools for viewing individual texts and reconstructing the B-Archetype, as well as resources for high school teachers, university instructors, and editors.