POE ONLINE: A DATABASE OF ILLUSTRATED EDITIONS FOR TEACHING PURPOSES
The interdisciplinary and consolidated research group “LyA” (Literature & Art) of the University of Castilla-La Mancha was established in 2015, being granted by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad for the development of a four-year research project: “Poe On-line: Text and Image” (HAR2015-64580-P). Among the main goals of this project, co-directed by Prof. Dr. Rigal-Aragón (Dep. of Modern Philology) and Prof. Dr. González-Moreno (Dep. of History of Art), we must highlight the design and implementation of an online catalogue able to offer public access to most of the illustrated editions of Edgar A. Poe’s works.
This paper will present the current state of this database as well as some of our future and priority lines of action. The IT tool able to catalogue our textual and illustrated materials has already been designed and developed, generating a highly customized device for our purposes. The database is centered on three different and interconnected databanks: 1) Databank “Works”, which allows us to establish a taxonomy of Poe’s complete works and related materials (tales, novels, poems, theoretical texts, others –biographies, documents, preliminary studies, introductions, teaching materials, prologues, prefaces). 2) Databank “Editions”, which includes 14 fields to catalogue the illustrated editions that the research group is collecting to create our specific collection: title, author, language, publication place, kind of edition (original version, adaptation in English, translation, children’s edition, anthology…), year, volumes, number of pages, size, publishing house, translator, library, biographical references, description; once that the edition is created, we can link to its entry the tales, poems, or works included in the edition according to its index, indicating if they are illustrated too. 3) Databank “Illustrations”, which allows us to catalogue each of the images included in the editions according to a form with 13 different fields: edition, work, title, image (pre-scanned illustration of 600 ppp), illustrator, engraver, volume, page, illustration measures, page measures, color, notes, and technique. Then, each illustration is tagged following a pre-established taxonomy of the relevant characters, places, plants, animals, and objects included in each tale, poem, or work. And finally, it is linked to the part of the text that it illustrates; in order to accomplish this, we have pre-established a structure/division for each tale, poem or work.
Thanks to this research project, we expect to create a multilayer online catalogue-edition that will allow the user to read Edgar A. Poe’s works combining his texts with the most relevant visual readings. The user will be able to browse our catalogue exploring these materials in several directions: from the illustrations to the texts and vice versa; selecting a specific tale, poem, or work and deciding the illustrations that should accompany it; comparing the different interpretations that the illustrators (Coburn, Rackham, Dulac, Doré, Beardsley, Grimly, etc.) have elaborated since mid-nineteenth century till nowadays; etc.
Presently, we are dedicated to upload and catalogue these textual and visual materials, anticipating that the public access to the database will be ready in less than a year. In this way, we expect to create an online didactic resource of a high level and to promote the knowledge of the reception that Poe’s works have had in Spain.