The Hoccleve Archive is a collection of resources meant to advance the study of this fifteenth-century London-based poet and his works. A developing digital humanities project, the Archive will soon host teaching editions of all of Hoccleve’s known poems, and is working to develop the digital tools necessary for our eventual goal of creating a complete critical edition of the Regiment of Princes. To facilitate this goal, the Hoccleve Archive also hosts a large number of resources useful for Hocclevean scholarship, including digital images of manuscript collation data sheets compiled during the last attempt to produce a complete critical edition of the Regiment of Princes (see here for more info and these demos: old site and new site), lexical data files that were used in the first computer-aided analysis of Hoccleve’s holograph works, data from new textual analyses of Hoccleve’s works, images of Hoccleve’s manuscript texts, and a catalog of the physical materials (both hard-copy and microform) formerly in the collection of Charles Blyth that support this digital archive. The Archive also serves as a repository for digital humanities and pedagogical projects relating to Hoccleve’s poetry. Currently this repository hosts Karen Smyth’s “Concordance of Time Referents” and the early work for our proposed searchable Hoccleve Lexicon.
We are actively seeking other scholarly projects related to Hoccleve to host in our Archive.
The Archive is being developed by Elon Lang, Robin Wharton, and other Hoccleve scholars, with help from the Texas Digital Library, the University of Texas Digital Repository, and the UT LAITS Media Development Lab, and the Georgia State University Student Innovations Fellows program. The Archive originated at the Humanities Digital Workshop at Washington University in St. Louis (where its beta-site is still active) and, while not directly affiliated, shares many goals, resources, and personnel with the International Hoccleve Society (see also here). Additional individual contributors include Kris Helbling, Stephen Pentecost, Joe Loewenstein, Quinn Stewart, Tanya Clement, Suloni Robertson, and Colleen Lyon, Rebecca van Kniest, Emma Whelan and Perry Trolard, and especially Charles Blyth.
History of the Archive
This project originated as a result of an email Lang wrote to Charles Blyth in the summer of 2008 as he was doing research for his dissertation on the connections between Hoccleve’s poetics and the textual history of his works. At the time, Lang was only just beginning to appreciate the magnitude of Thomas Hoccleve’s Regiment of Princes as a manuscript corpus. Then he recalled the offer Blyth posed in his 1996 essay “Editing the Regiment of Princes” to supply researchers with copies of the manuscript collations he used for his 1999 TEAMS edition of the poem (but which he did not and could not include in the edition to make it fully critical). Very graciously, Blyth made good on his offer.
Lang was astonished to discover the extent of the unique collection of resources Blythe had accumulated for his edition. Not only did he have file drawers full of collation data from the Regiment of Princes manuscripts, but he had dozens of microfilms from which the collations were derived. He also had numerous old computer files containing marked-up transcriptions of all of Hoccleve’s famous holograph manuscripts. Seeing the yellowing and dog-eared state of the paper in the collection and the outdated format of the computer files, Lang asked Blyth if he had considered digitally preserving and updating the items in his collection in order to share them more easily with other researchers. In response, Blyth, who was in the process of retiring, allowed Lang to take over the stewardship of his collection.
Goals of the Archive
The first goal of the Hoccleve Archive is to preserve old textual scholarship on Hoccleve and make it accessible to and useful for researchers today. This is the cornerstone principle guiding the development of the current project to digitize all the paper collation tables for the Regiment of Princes manuscripts and to post the computer data files for the Hoccleve Lexicon online.
The second goal of the Archive is to continue the spirit of Blyth’s open-access policy to his collection and to promote a collaborative and comprehensive ethos among Hoccleve scholars. I want scholars to be able to use the Archive as a platform for hosting data that supports their work published elsewhere while presenting it for others to use and manipulate for new research aims. The first project to take advantage of this is Karen Smyth’s “Concordance of Time Referents” for the Regiment of Princes.
The Archive’s third major goal is educational. The Archive will provide a place where Hoccleve researchers and students can connect with each other and collaborate on on-going projects. One of the projects being developed to reach this goal will be a fully critical hypertext edition of the Regiment of Princes. The transcription and mark-up work for the edition will be broken up into small parcels and completed over a number of years. Primary participants in this work will be scholars and students who may each be interested in Hoccleve and manuscript variation on a relatively small-scale–such as in their coursework in English Departments around the world.
Mission of the Archive
Ultimately, while the Hoccleve Archive will remain in a state of continuous expansion and development, its mission will always be both pedagogical and scholarly. It will provide a tool for teaching modern students about the nature of writing and publishing before the age of the printing press. It will offer undergraduate and graduate students practical ways to understand the historical context of medieval literature in a familiar online environment. It will also provide Hoccleve scholars with a central site where they can meet, share ideas, access heretofore unpublished textual data, publish digital materials that support their work published in other venues, view materials dispersed widely across American and U.K. archives, and collaborate in the ongoing study, mark-up, preservation, and promotion of Hoccleve’s texts.