History of the Site (to 2004)
New page forthcoming. Please check back.
Now the city being like a vast sea, full of gusts, fearful-dangerous shelves and rocks, ready at every storm to sink and cast away the weak and unexperienced bark . . . I, like another Columbus or Drake . . . have drawn you this chart or map for your guide as well out of mine own as my many friends experience.
(Henry Peacham, The Art of Living in London )
The Agas Map is one of my favourite teaching tools. I use it to demonstrate the geographical relationship between the city and Renaissance theatres, to map out the routes of processions and pageants, and to show how the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later the King’s Men) moved their business operations from the Theatre in the north, to the Globe on the Bankside on the south side of the Thames, to the Blackfriars complex in the heart of the City of London.
In 1999, three students in Dr. Colin Atkinson’s English 208, "Writing Hypertext," at the University of Windsor were looking for a project and a supervisor. I offered my 6’3" laminated Agas Map. It took two months to scan the map in sections and create the first version of the site. My research assistant, Tara Drouillard, has defined the look of the site and created most of the pages. James Campbell and Joanna Hutz have continued Ms. Drouillard’s work by adding pages and bringing all the existing pages into stylistic uniformity.
Select students in my Renaissance Drama classes have undertaken hypertext research projects in lieu of a standard research essay. Writing hypertext demands a different kind of organizational structure than the conventional essay. A website requires shorter segments of writing and inter-linked rather than linear arguments. I ask each student to generate the equivalent of 8-10 pages of text divided between pages, and to indicate the links they would like created between their own pages and existing pages of the website. Each project demands both historical research and literary application. After submission and grading, the student makes all necessary corrections before we edit the project together. What appears on the web site, therefore, is the product of several stages of editing. I do not check all of the sources unless I think that there is good reason to do so, but I do ensure that the research is properly documented and that each page is grammatically correct and stylistically felicitous.
Many of my students are familiar with HTML coding. However, after some experimentation with allowing students to code their own pages, I feel that it’s better to have them focus on their research and writing skills. I now delegate the coding to work study students, who have included Tara Drouillard, James Campbell, and Joanna Hutz.
This project is a work in progress. In some cases, the work of one student provides a project for another student. For example, Jennie Butler’s old-spelling text of The Quenes Majesties Progress awaits editorial annotation by another student. Indeed, I hope that the possibilities of the site will never be exhausted, for its pedagogical value lies in the creative process that brings students to link their work to the map. Outside visitors are also welcome to submit contributions and suggestions for consideration.
I hope that teachers and students of Renaissance drama and London history will find the site a valuable source of information. If you use our work, please cite it appropriately, giving credit to the authors of the pages you cite.
This project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
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