The Imagining History project

brut detail

Research Methods: Mapping the Brut Online

Page Information

Author: Stephen Kelly
Revised: December 27, 2005
Reviewed: April 2006

Methodological Issues:
Avoiding the Editorial Imperative
'Mapping' the Middle English Prose Brut
On Mapping: Manuscript Geography and Textual Reception
Implications for Outputs: Mapping the Brut online

Adapting the London Tube Map to 'Cultural Mapping'

Transport for London's ingenious map is justly famous for its paradoxical abolition of geography: Harry Beck's map was not interested in representing the metro system spatially. Rather, it was concerned with mapping information spatially - the map is regularly described as a diagram because of its resistance to the mimetic pretensions of cartography.

As a model, it is therefore extremely useful for our exercises in cultural mapping. Given our methodological and theoretical sensitivities to cartographic representation, particularly of the traffic of late medieval scribes, texts and readers, the Tube map provides us with an 'information architecture' with which to render textual, biobibliographical, political and geographical relationships without succumbing to the assumption that the map is the territory.

The Imagining History 'webkit'

manuscript icon Manuscript icon   suspected connection Suspected connection
conjoined text Conjoined text
text Text known connection Known connection
missing exemplar Missing Exemplar
household Household city or town Population centre
biobibliographical icon Biobibliographical connections MS description link MS description link
religious house Religious House    

The cultural mapping 'webkit', which we will make freely available for scholarly use in May 2006, will help us represent textual, biobibliographical and reception relations in a clear and comprehensible way. Below are some examples from work in progress.

From the Project:
National Library of Wales MS 21608 and the Genealogical Imagination
For the purposes of our research we have located NLW21608 at the heart of a cluster of MSS concerned with genealogical historiography. Click on each image for an impression of how the maps work.

Click to view our map for manuscript relations Click to view Biobibliographical relations Click to view Geographical relations
Click on each image to see how we map MSS relations, biobibliographical relations, and geographical relations

General Research:
The Clopton Manuscript

In order to demonstrate the general applicability of our mapping scheme, here are some examples from work undertaken by Dr Ryan Perry on the Clopton MS.

Mapping the Clopton MS texts Textual relations in the Clopton MS Biobibliographical relations
These pages provide some sense of how our mapping scheme might be used in contexts other than the Brut

These maps will be embedded in a user-interface, to be previewed with the Project's Advisory Board late September.

Next: More on Electronic Outputs