The Libro de buen amor (The Book of Good Love) is a fourteenth-century masterpiece that remains virtually unknown outside of Spanish literature. The goals of Reading Manuscript Culture Digitally: The Libro de Buen Amor / The Book of Good Love Online are two-fold. First, although there are many traditional scholarly editions of the Libro de buen amor in Spanish, available and useful to specialists, there are currently no bilingual or single-language English editions in print; we seek to remedy this absence and bring The Book of Good Love into the canon with an online, bilingual, interactive, and user-friendly edition, thus making this important work available to a broad audience of readers in the humanities, scholars and non-specialists alike. Second, we seek to craft the edition within a platform that harnesses the flexibility of digital tools to enable a reading experience that is akin to the interactivity and openness of manuscript culture, which The Book of Good Love epitomizes. Further, and despite the growing numbers of bilingual Spanish-English speakers in the United States, few resources are available for the study of the medieval Spanish-language works central to Hispanic cultural heritage. This project works to counter the general marginalization of Spanish texts in Medieval Studies while also making this groundbreaking work available for scholarship and teaching on the Middle Ages, particularly to professors and librarians at Hispanic Serving Institutions.
This project began as part of Georgetown University’s Initiative for Technology Enhanced Learning (ITEL) in January 2016. With a seed grant, the co-pi’s (Francomano and Bamford) and two graduate assistants worked with Georgetown’s Center for New Designs in Teaching and Learning (CNDLS) to develop a prototype of a digital scholarly and bilingual edition. Our minimum design criteria included the presentation of digital surrogates of the manuscripts of the Libro de buen amor in parallel with the edited texts, and an interactive glossing function that would allow readers of the edited texts to use the virtual margins as spaces for annotation, glossing, and composition.
A grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s “Resilient Networks to Support Inclusive Digital Humanities” initiative will support us at a crucial point in our project in which we hope GW will play the central role and in which we very much wish to learn from other researchers working in the Digital Humanities. Specifically, the grant would carry the project forward financially and potentially with the student-researcher support required to re-code our base text, which was coded according to standards developed by the Hispanic Society of Medieval Studies, according to TEI standards. The grant period will be devoted to completing the digital content of the edition and beta testing at GW, which will lead to a review of our design needs and objectives.
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