Welcome to Wynken de Worde, a blog named after one of the earliest English printers and where I write about early printed books, book history, and the digital technologies that can help us learn about books and reading. And this is me: book historian, library enthusiast, digital tools explorer. I strive to connect people with special collections libraries and to connect libraries with the growing world of digital resources for exploring book history.
My current energies are focused on a project about how early books were made, and how to work with them and their digital facsimiles: A Handbook for Studying Early Printed Books, 1450–1800, coming out from Wiley Blackwell in 2018, and an open-access website to help teachers and students explore the subject.
I worked at the Folger Shakespeare Library for nearly a decade—first as Undergraduate Program Director and then as Digital Media Strategist—and I have taught at universities on a wide range of subjects. I have a PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania, where I focused on modern performances of Shakespeare, a subject that is still near and dear to me: I’m the author of Shakespeare and Feminist Performance: Ideology on Stage (Routledge, 2001) and editor of New Directions in Renaissance Drama and Performance Studies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). I’ve also written about the need to be aware of theatrical languages and about how performance is incorporated into digital apps. (All this, and more, can be found on my c.v., in brief or in full.)
The best introduction to the sorts of matters I’m interested in is this blog. The “Wynken de Worde” category is where you’ll find the book history (digital and handpress) I write for this blog; “The Collation” category consists of the many posts I wrote for The Collation, the research blog that I created for the Folger; and “In Other Words” is my category for performance things, general academic matters, and the occasional personal stuff.
You can also read Glenn Fleishman’s account of my work in his piece for The Economist’s Babbage blog or Rebecca Rosen’s profile of the challenges of digital strategy for a rare materials library in The Atlantic’s Technology blog. To see what students might get out of working directly with old books, read about some George Washington University students, watch a video of them, or watch the video below of some Georgetown students talk about how much they loved studying at the Folger.