detail from frontispiece to Kirkman's The Wits (1672)

Welcome! The English Renaissance in Context (ERIC) is a NEH-funded project designed to provide scholars and students at a variety of levels with access to major texts of the English Renaissance in their original versions. ERIC grows out of both contemporary critical tendencies in the field of English Renaissance studies and a commitment to providing broad access to original source materials that would otherwise be out of reach for many. ERIC takes advantage of the NEH "Teaching with Technology" initiative to fashion some fresh approaches to familiar texts and issues. ERIC uses the desktop to supplement the classroom and the library.

ERIC comprises two separate but integrated units: a set of tutorials on some of Shakespeare's plays and on the making and selling of books during the Early Modern period; and a database of scanned texts (thanks to the work of SCETI) from Penn's Furness Shakespeare Library. When used in combination, these two units can provide students with a rich introduction to English Renaissance literature in its historical and artifactual context.

detail from frontispiece to Foxe's Actes and Monuments, Book 2 (1610)

ERIC staff have developed a series of tutorials that allow students to wrestle with major textual issues at their own pace. Our goal has been to offer a real-time learning experience that is both directed and interactive. We have tried not to be prescriptive or proscriptive in our approach. That is, we lay out questions and issues but not answers. ERIC will not be a destination of choice for those seeking quick hits and easy solutions. We have tried to pique curiosity and spark interest rather than help meet last-minute paper deadlines.

The tutorials focusing on "Shakespeare in Context" present viewers with background and contextual material to particular plays and a series of challenges based on that material. Select a play; as the presentation unfolds, you may follow links to view facsimile texts, and from there navigate freely between the texts themselves and the tutorials. The tutorials treating "The Early Modern Material Text" introduce viewers to book production in the period, and suggest that how old books were made and sold just might affect their "meaning" then and now.

The tutorials are easy to use. Set your own pace. Move in and out of them. Read. Reflect. Enjoy the experience of reading the Renaissance.

detail from frontispiece to Foxe's Actes and Monuments, Book 1 (1610)
ERIC Project Staff:
  Rebecca Bushnell (Project Co-Director)
  Michael Ryan (Project Co-Director)
  Brett Wilson (Technical Developer)
Other Contributors (faculty, students, & staff):
  Greg Bear James Saeger Lawrence Warner
  Jim Kearney Daniel Traister Owen Williams
  Erika Lin Antonio Vivas Mio Yamamoto
  Phyllis Rackin [Advisory Boards]  
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This project is made possible by funds provided by the University of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Copyright © 2002 University of Pennsylvania Library. All Rights Reserved.