The Letters of Hannah More

What will the project do?
The proposed project has two main aims:
1: to provide a scholarly, annotated, and complete edition of Hannah More’s surviving correspondence of some 1600 letters.
2: to provide that edition in a freely accessible, and sustainable, digital format.

Hannah More, playwright, poet, Bluestocking, novelist, and Christian moralist, was at the forefront of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literary culture for nearly fifty years. During her career More was an intimate friend of the actor and theatre manager, David Garrick, as well as Samuel Johnson, Horace Walpole, Samuel Weller Pepys, William Wilberforce, and Elizabeth Montagu – leader of one of the most famous literary salons of the period, the Bluestockings. More’s correspondents were the leading politicians, intellectuals, authors, and actors of the age; her letters provide, therefore, an extremely significant resource for understanding the nature not only of More’s literary network, but also wider society in the late Georgian period.

Shortly after More’s death in 1833, her friend William Roberts published his Memoirs of the Life and Correspondence of Hannah More. In it he mingled biography with a selection of More’s letters. However, as was often the case with such publications of this period, Roberts was highly selective about the letters he included, and was none too scrupulous about preserving the textual integrity of those letters which were published: Roberts censored some letters, blended others, and, in most cases, failed to include such basic information like the date of sending. Yet despite these many shortcomings, Roberts’s edition remains the only edition of More’s letters currently available to scholars. Now 180 years old, it is time it was replaced.

Some of the research questions this project will address include:
• What was More’s relationship with Bristol and London? More was Bristol-born and Bristol-based for parts of her life, but also spent long periods in London, so who was she writing to, and what was she writing about, when resident in these two cities?
• Is it possible to visualize More’s literary networks through mapping technologies?
• Can corpus linguistics reveal anything about language use or change in this period?
• Can semantic tagging reveal anything about More’s literary relationships with her correspondents?
• Does mapping the locations of the manuscript archives themselves tell us anything about More’s cultural legacy?
• Can we reveal anything about who has been collecting More memorabilia, and why?
• Are there aspects of More’s epistolary life that can be explored by the development of new software or analytical techniques?

Collaboration

Kinds of collaborators
Individual/small group
Faculty
Graduate students
Librarians
IT staff
Help description
I am primarily looking for an established academic/faculty member with expertise in the Digital Humanities to come on board the project as Co-Investigator in a bid for funding in support of this project. They will need to be UK-based, preferably in Scotland. Whilst the project is likely to use text-mining techniques, semantic tagging, and mapping technologies, I particularly need someone who has a sufficient knowledge of the Digital Humanities to suggest other ways in which this project might use or contribute to developments in DH.
Contact person
Help needed
Yes

Project Collaborators