VISUALIZING THE QUIXOTE: A DIGITAL HUMANITIES ARCHIVE FOR RESEARCH AND TEACHING
Hundreds of artists have illustrated the Quixote (1605) following their own understanding and views of the text, at times pushed by the needs and desires of an editor or institution, but all trying to capture and replicate in the few instances afforded by their creations the genius of Cervantes, in their particular time and place, and for their intended public. The illustrators have been compelled to create images capable of representing complex narrative meanings, settings, and characterization as visual readings. Their designs and engravings attempt to make visible the imaginary reality conceived by the author in his text; in this manner they are both a useful critical guide and an effective graphic reference to see what we are told, to confirm the reality of the words. And at their best, they graphically illuminate and elucidate the text for the reader as visual annotations.
Although some selective illustrations are occasionally included in critical and bibliographical studies, the complete iconographic record has remained inaccessible until now. Since 2003 the Cervantes Project, in collaboration with the TEES Center for the Studies of Digital Libraries at Texas A&M University, and with the support of the Cushing Memorial Library, the Cervantes Chair at the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, and the National Endowment of the Humanities, started to digitize, annotate and make available online in the form of a fully documented and accessible hypertextual digital archive the tens of thousands representations and visual readings constituted by the illustrations of the Quixote. At present the Textual Iconography of the Quixote archive includes over 50,000 digital images from over 850 editions. Our current research involves how best to re-imagine and interpret the rich visual, textual and documentary information contained in the archive. We present here the taxonomic organization of the archive and our approach to integrate through metadata words and images in order to create new forms of reading and learning.