Welcome to Reformations of A Maske. This website intends to provide scholarly resources for the study of John Milton's A Maske, or Comus, as well as explore the ways in which humanities scholarship and technology can interact to the benefit of both. Milton's masque provides a unique opportunity for such a project because it has continually produced its own re-formations and re-presentations of literary genres and conventions in the years since its first production in 1634. A website such as Reformations of A Maske allows for fuller exploration of the multiple versions of the work and breaks new ground in exploring the ramifications of the work's online representations.
While there are other hypertext editions of A Maske, our site is unique in that it provides a mechanism to compare the texts through multiple permutations of print and manuscript in addition to a variety of media. A Maske has occasioned much comment in terms of the variants that occur between the two extant manuscripts (Bridgewater and Trinity College) and two of the three editions printed during Milton's lifetime, the 1637 and 1645 Poems. Online capabilities enable the user to compare the different versions side-by-side and expand the options of such potential comparisons. Future plans for the website include a key indicating substantive variants between the texts, as well as a search engine that will allow the user to search a text, a combination of texts, or the site as a whole.
The fact that the Internet allows for exploration of multimedia formats broadens and enhances the many directions study of the work can take. The Multimedia Representations pages indicate the diversity of artistic renditions that A Maske has engendered; presenting these various forms enables the reader to better understand the performative aspects inherent to the masque. Rather than reducing A Maske to a simple codex, this site attempts to continue the evolving transformations of this work of art. The masque has been regenerated in a variety of artistic forms, including opera, illustrations, plays, text, and now, hypertext.
Other central goals of the website are to convey information about John Milton and A Maske and to engage in current scholarly discourse. The Critical Essays pages include thoroughly researched articles elaborating on significant aspects of the work, from historical essays to treatments of its literary themes. It is our hope that these essays will provide information, provoke thought and elicit comment. The Bibliography pages intend to direct users to additional resources, print and online, that have proven useful in our research, both in gathering general background information and in honing our own critical approaches to the work. As with the rest of the site, the Bibliography pages are ever growing and we welcome and appreciate new suggestions for potential resources.
Reformations of A Maske seeks to provide as diverse a range of scholarly resources to users as possible, while exploring, broadening, and deepening the mutually beneficial relationship between the humanities and technology. We welcome suggestions and invite you to participate in our on-going project:
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