Long-Lost 17th-Century Poet Gets Digital Treatment

Pulter project manuscript page with interactive window

For a long time, analyzing a literary work consisted of creating a “definitive edition,” which might be supplanted a decade or two later. Or maybe never. English professor Frances Dolan is part of a project that offers a new approach for literary analysis, one better aligned with the high-speed information exchange possible today.

“The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making,” built around poems by little-known 17th century writer Hester Pulter, allows for a more collaborative, creative, richer and rapid exchange of ideas about a work. In the “digital collaboration” users can examine the original manuscript, toggle between various versions of the poems, and read analysis of the poems and other writing from the period.

“The relatively recent ‘discovery’ of Pulter and the extraordinary interest of the poetry offered us a unique opportunity,” Dolan said. The highly collaborative and inventive spirit of the project has made it remarkable as an ongoing process.”