REED London is a complex interweaving of historical and editorial information. We're providing this introduction about how to use the site in order to help you find your way through the maze (or create your own maze!) 

What IS a record?

That's a good question, and not an easy one to answer. Essentially, a record is an excerpted segment of a document (e.g., household account, legal proceeding, parish register, correspondence, etc.). REED collection editors chose to include only segments referring to performance in some way. Sometimes these can be extensive, like Bulstrode Whitelocke's reminiscences of his times at Middle Temple. Other times they can be maddeningly brief and opaque, like the record that reads only "the waits were disappointed". Sometimes the records will include sections within the records (or gobbets, as James Cummings once defined them) that tease out multiple references to performance at different points in a long document that includes multiple records.

How can I find my way around the site?

Another good question, and we're glad you asked. If you are unfamiliar with REED or curious about why we're focusing on particular slices of London life and perspectives on performance, you might find the introductory essays written by the editors of the print collections to be particularly helpful. We have optimized these essays by pulling endnotes and glosses in line with the referring text (hover over the note icon to read it in a pop-up window; click on the icon to read an expanded view of the note.) We have also taken the liberty of lightly editing the essays; original print conventions required reference to a record or series of records via page number(s). We have replaced those page references to web links that take the reader directly to that record. Also, throughout the essays persons of note have been tagged as "entities" (this is done throughout the records, as well). Eventually these entities will lead to pages showing all of the records in which those entities appear.

Introductory essays in the REED London collections
Inns of Court
(Alan Nelson)
"Historical Background"
"Drama, Entertainment, and Music"
Ecclesiastical London
(Mary Erler)
"Historical Background"
"Drama, Music, Ceremony"
Civic London to 1558
(Anne Lancashire)
"Historical Background"
"Drama, Music, and Ceremonial Customs"

Transliterating the Text

In the original printed volumes the records are usually organized chronologically and then alphabetically (sometimes an additional parameter is introduced), with appendices, glossaries, endnotes, and indices at the end of the volume or in another volume entirely. In order to better manage the digital editing process we have split the records into individual files, maintaining the sections within the records (or 'gobbets', as James Cummings dubbed them) along with notes, glosses, and translations. When you see the symbol [...] you'll know you've come upon an excerption.

Tagging the Texts

From the project's beginning we have ourselves to adhering to the TEI-XML guidelines for structural and semantic encoding. Because of the need to re-present the records in digital context and fit them within CWRC's text object model we have made changes to the layout of the record gobbets from the way they were presented in the print volumes. But truly, this was never meant to be a diplomatic edition reproducing exactly what one saw in the printed volumes. While they are becoming increasingly difficult to come by, you can still consult one of the print collections if your institutional library purchased a set – or on the Internet Archives.

Because of our interest in the business of performance as well as the performances themselves, we aspire to capture not only named people, places, and organizations within the texts; we endeavour to capture through encoding the material goods and services represented within them. To that end we are tagging the following TEI elements: persName, placeName, orgName, objectName, date, and measure. We are also capturing properties associated with people and places, such as occupation, office, or role. In collaboration with other LINCS researchers studying early modern London, we are compiling vocabularies for place types, occupations and offices, and material objects used in the preparation and production of entertainment. Eventually this information will provide more nuanced queries and faceted searching to draw the user down surprising data pathways.

Features and Showcases

As we annotate and organize the records, we sometimes come upon narratives, themes, or patterns that we think offer more and richer context for the reader. Two examples of this:

  • The "Masques of 1612-14" showcase explores through curated records how collectively the gentlemen of four Inns of Court produced and performed in three masques to celebrate the royal weddings of Princess Elizabeth and Frederick V, and Robert Kerr and Frances Howard.
  • The "Bad Behaviour at Middle Temple" mini-essay describes how students in the legal fraternities acted out their revelry in sometimes destructive or violent ways, and how punishment often involved exclusion from Inns of Court entertainments.

London Places

We are fascinated by the ways in which the records inscribe meaning onto London locations - sometimes in ways that surprise people who think about the City other contexts. You can read about how we define London places in dialogue with other early modern scholars. In the records you will also find places tagged as entities. Eventually these entities will form a gazetteer as well as spatial visualizations that create connections amongst the records.