SSHRC Insight Grant 2012–2016

Janelle Jenstad and Co-Applicants Martin Holmes and Stewart Arneil were awarded a SSHRC Insight Grant for 2012-2016 to continue work on the next phase of The Map of Early Modern London. We are making our proposal Summary and Expected Outcomes publicly available.

Proposal Summary

The Map of Early Modern London (MoEML) is an open-source digital atlas, encyclopaedia, and library of the literature and culture of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century London. MoEML adds literary texts and historical information to a digital version of the 1560s woodcut map known as Civitas Londinum (the Agas Map, used by kind permission of the London Metropolitan Archives). This detailed map, a bird’s-eye view showing a panorama of the buildings and surrounding landscape, allows users to visualize the experience of walking, working, living, and playing in the spaces and places of early modern London. The tools, texts, and layers of data that we will add to the map during this grant will make it possible to question the relationship between space, place, genre, cultural production, consumption, and literary mapping. We will be able to see the places prominent in the cultural imagination, which will become densely linked nodes on the map. We will be able to map the movements of characters within texts, as well as map out possible routes to and from the theatres and the bookstalls. We will be able to map literary references in texts by different authors, at different times, or in different generic categories, thereby answering questions of literary distinction. Being able to tag characters and speakers and to map routes and points in texts will allow us to address questions of technique and method: how do literary texts map out London? Finally, we can ask how situation and location within London might affect playgoing and consumption of literary texts.
MoEML will take a geohumanities approach to the literary culture of early modern London, combining tools and results from the disciplines of literary studies, historical GIS, history, historical geography, archaeology, and theatre history to produce a cultural map richly layered with primary literary sources and literary historical information. It will use the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) guidelines to mark up both primary texts and secondary articles and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) tools to georeference Civitas Londinum. The atlas will identify every feature of Civitas Londinum. The encyclopaedia will offer descriptions of the cultural significance of over 1000 sites, streets, and areas. The library will feature a complete versioned edition of John Stow’s A Survey of London, an edition of John Taylor’s Works, and transcriptions of the surviving mayoral shows. Taking a diplomatic approach to the texts, our editorial work will be to identify and mark up all the place references within the literary texts.
The combination of tools, data, new secondary articles, and primary source-texts in a dynamic and searchable research environment permits researchers of various levels and interests to learn about the city in which Shakespeare and his contemporaries lived and worked. The design of the project will interest Digital Humanities and people in the new field of Geohumanities. The map and related tools will be useful in other Historical GIS applications, as well as being of general interest to map historians. The library, encyclopaedia, and literary mapping tools will be widely used by literary critics who work on early modern drama, Shakespeare, and the literature and culture of London. MoEML has long been used by family historians and genealogical researchers. With these new tools and resources, the general public will have a wealth of accessible information to contextualize their research.

Expected Outcomes

  • A georeferenced and georectified version of the central portion of the 1560s map, Civitas Londinum, to serve as the platform for The Map of Early Modern London. We will share it with the London Metropolitan Archives and, with permission of the LMA, with the Centre for Metropolitan History and its Locating London’s Past project.
  • An edition/atlas of Civitas Londinum that indexes and describes every feature of the map, generally useful to historians, students, and scholars of early modern literature.
  • Rasterized shapefiles for the wards and parishes of London based on Civitas Londinum. These files will allow historians to map demographic data by ward and parish in a GIS program. We will make them freely available to anyone who requests them.
  • An encyclopaedia of early modern literary London keyed to Civitas Londinum with georeferences. This encyclopaedia will supersede Sugden’s Dictionary of Shakespeare’s London and be generally useful to students and scholars of early modern literature. Family historians and genealogical researchers, who already use the essays on MoEML, will find the complete encyclopaedia valuable.
  • A new model of peer review in the form of cross-refereeing. This model will be of general interest to digital humanists as we think through new forms of publication and scholarly assessment.
  • A general library of transcribed texts about London, set in London, or describing London. The transcriptions will marked up with a tagset from the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) so that we can share our transcriptions and mark-up with other scholars who may wish to edit the underlying texts for other purposes. Our editing will focus on identifying and tagging all place references so that researchers and students can search the entire library for references to places. Most of our texts will come from Early English Books Online (EEBO) or EEBO’s Text Creation Partnership (EEBO-TCP). We will transcribe texts from EEBO page images in this priority sequence: texts rich in references to London streets and sites; texts not yet transcribed by EEBO-TCP (in which case we will offer our transcription to EEBO-TCP); texts requested by users; and finally texts already transcribed in EEBO-TCP (in which case we will return a corrected text to EEBO-TCP).
  • A digital edition of John Stow’s A Survey of London. This text will attract a wide general readership, as well as students of literature and history.
  • A proof-of-concept corpus within the general library consisting of John Taylor’s Works. Taylor was a prolific writer who wrote frequently about London. He is well known but infrequently studied in depth. A complete digital edition of his works will allow scholars of early modern literature to give serious attention to Taylor’s experiments in literary mapping.
  • Transcriptions of all the extant mayoral shows. There has never been a complete collection of all the mayoral shows. Editions are available only in the respective authors’ Works. Scholars of pageantry will be able to study the spatial dimension of the shows in a spatial environment.
  • Critical introductions to lesser known London texts. We may share these introductions with EEBO Introductions.
  • mapping tool that will allow scholars and students to draw their own literary maps on the Civitas Londinum platform.
  • A personography of Londoners linked to biographies in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. If no ODNB biography exists, MoEML will work with the Early Modern Digital Collaboratory to write or co-write a biography.

Cite this page

MLA citation

Jenstad, Janelle. SSHRC Insight Grant 2012-2016. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 05 May 2022,

Chicago citation

Jenstad, Janelle. SSHRC Insight Grant 2012-2016. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed May 05, 2022.

APA citation

Jenstad, J. 2022. SSHRC Insight Grant 2012-2016. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London (Edition 7.0). Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from

RIS file (for RefMan, RefWorks, EndNote etc.)

Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

A1  - Jenstad, Janelle
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - SSHRC Insight Grant 2012-2016
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
ET  - 7.0
PY  - 2022
DA  - 2022/05/05
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  -
UR  -
ER  - 

TEI citation

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