Buddy, Can You Spare a Quarto

A couple of days back, while doing my usual scan of Shakespeare news stories for the Facebook page, I came across an item of interest in the Hindustan Times (yeah, from India) about The Shakespeare Quartos Archive project.

The effort, a joint project of the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, and the Folger Shakespeare Library, attempts to reproduce and display on the web “at least one copy of every edition of William Shakespeare’s plays printed in quarto before the theatres closed in 1642” (http://quartos.org/info/about.html).  Tied to this is the creation of a brand new interactive interface, which allows users to (among other things): mark and tag text images with user annotations, search full-text, download and print text and images, and compare images side-by-side.

It’s pretty damn cool.

Now, currently the interface is in prototype, and for that prototype they’ve concentrated on a single play.  Hmmmm, if you were to focus on ONE Shakespeare play, what would it be?  Uh, Hamlet, right?  Yep… well, the project has THIRTY-TWO different versions of Hamlet for viewing.

That’s really damn cool.

This current project is an offshoot of the earlier Shakespeare in Quarto project of the British Library.  That earlier project still exists, and until the Shakespeare Quartos Archive is complete, it is your best source for quartos of the other (non-gloomy Danish prince) plays.

Cool cool cool links:

The Hindustan Times article

The Shakespeare Quartos Archive

Shakespeare in Quarto

Damn, if only I was independently wealthy, with all the time in the world…

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