Honors Research Seminar
Long before the Internet made it easy for anyone to write stories and circulate them, many people wrote short stories, plays, and even full novels by hand and shared them with their friends and family. By luck, some of these works survive in archives all over the world, hiding in recipe books, stacks of letters, and even government documents. Participants will help to create the first database collecting this material into one publicly accessible digital archive. This course will give students in allied majors or minors material for their honors senior year experience (thesis), and students from across the University transferrable skills. Course is one grade for the year to be given at end of Spring term (if needed, Dr. Friedman will provide letters of reference for students applying to graduate school during this course). Interested students will have the opportunity to present their work at a national conference and co-author articles with Dr. Friedman.
At the time of her death in 1817, Jane Austen left behind a wealth of unpublished material in manuscript. Some was published by her family the year after her death (the novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion), some was burned by her sister Cassandra, and some was simply left unpublished for over a century. From sassy satires to tongue-in-cheek histories to poems, prayers, and plays, what Austen *didn’t* publish is as rich — if not richer — than what entered the world of print.
In this class we will read and discuss the works that Austen’s family didn’t let see print, and examine how editors have taken on the task of making these works available to various reading publics. We will also dip into the unpublished work of famous and unknown authors, some of which have never seen print, in order to contextualize the Austen family’s decisions.
Students will have a choice of three final projects: 1. a traditional research paper with archival investigation; 2. creating a new edition of one or more of these texts for either print or digital use; or 3. a creative continuation or adaptation of one of these manuscript works.
Much of what we think is unique to our particular historical moment is, in fact, shaped by the ideas and structures that emerged from the Age of Enlightenment. The eighteenth century was a time of overwhelming technological, scientific, and economic change, including transformations in public discourse, and new genres (and new governments) rising to accommodate new ideas. In short, we can learn a lot about our own period by examining transformative eighteenth-century texts, and thanks to new forms of knowledge created by various digital tools, we can look at them in even more transformative ways.
This seminar will introduce participants to a variety of texts from the long eighteenth-century (1660-1820), paired with digital resources and scholarly projects that give new insights to these texts. Students will learn traditional archival techniques alongside methods of mapping, text encoding, and data visualization, and will have the opportunity to create a pilot project as a component of their final paper. No prior training in either eighteenth-century literature or coding is presumed.