Overview of the Project
Digital Beaumont & Fletcher (1647) is a student-centered, collaborative editorial project aimed at making many of the rarely edited — and, as a result, rarely taught — plays in the "Beaumont and Fletcher" canon accessible to student readers and freely available online for classroom use. It is an ongoing experiment in what it might look like for students to edit plays for other students.
This project was inspired by the distinctive copy of Comedies and Tragedies Written by Francis Beavmont And Iohn Fletcher Gentlemen (1647, Wing B1581) held by Penn State University's Eberly Family Special Collections Library. In addition to preserving evidence of ownership dating to as early as 1703 and possibly earlier, Penn State's copy of this printed play collection also includes three plays (A Wife for a Month, The Spanish Curate, and The Loyal Subject) with handwritten marginalia that suggest that the book might have been used to facilitate performances in the mid- to late seventeenth century. The project is also motivated by a desire to make the texts and other features of this fascinating book more widely known, available, and readable. To that end, the whole volume has been fully digitized by PSU Libraries' Department of Preservation, Conservation, and Digitization. Digital images that correspond to texts edited as part of this project are easily accessible via our modernized and annotated editions.
The first phase of the project, started in Summer 2019 and still ongoing, entails the publication of student-generated digital editions of two plays: The Sea Voyage by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger and A Wife for a Month by John Fletcher. These editions were prepared by undergraduate and graduate students, respectively, as part of their coursework on early modern drama in the Penn State Department of English in Fall 2019. The edition of The Sea Voyage was finalized by members of the project's editorial team in Summer 2021. The edition of A Wife for a Month is still forthcoming.
There is no set of general editorial principles for the project as a whole — each edition is unique (and internally consistent) to the group of students who produced it and to our graduate research assistants, Taylor Hare and David LeBlanc, who encoded the edited texts for digital publication. Editorial principles and procedures are available for each edition. You can read more about the pedagogical focus of the project.
Each edition will provide access to: (1) a modernized and annotated text; (2) a transcription of the 1647 text; and (3) images of the 1647 text.
The main objective of the project's second phase, which got underway in Summer 2020, will be to prepare two more open-access digital editions: (1) an edition of the collection of commendatory verses in the first folio's preliminaries (edited by Lauren Cenci); and (2) an edition of The Spanish Curate (edited by Maria Isabel Maza). These editions are currently slated for publication in 2022
General Editor: Claire M. L. Bourne
Project Manager: Heather Froehlich (through 2022)
Text Encoding Consultant: John Russell
Graduate Research Assistants: Taylor Hare & David LeBlanc (PHASE 1); Lauren Cenci & Maria Isabel Maza (PHASE 2)
Digital Beaumont & Fletcher (1647) is a collaboration between the Department of English and the Penn State University Libraries. Support from within PSU Libraries has come from Research Informatics and Publishing; the Eberly Family Special Collections Library; Preservation, Conservation, and Digitization; and Libraries Strategic Technologies. We are grateful for financial and technical support from these units.