Digital Renaissance Editions

The Illuminated Text

“Books are not absolutely dead things, but doe contain a potencie of life in them to be as active as that soule was whose progeny they are; nay they do preserve as in a violl the purest efficacie and extraction of that living intellect that bred them.”

~ John Milton, Areopagitica (1644)

The Illuminated Text is a new interactive resource which allows you to take advantage of the full capabilities of the computer. Here you will find a range of multimedia tools to assist in the display, comparison and exploration of early English playtexts.

There are three main ways to explore the playtexts.

1. Facsimiles of early printed books and manuscripts

See digital images of the early printed books and manuscripts in which the plays first appeared. These books are held in major libraries around the world, and are made available here for you to browse through.

2. Transcriptions of original editions

View, search, print, or cut and paste transcriptions of the old spelling texts as they were originally produced. It may come as a surprise to many that many plays were originally published in very different versions. For example, Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus exists in two different forms distinguished by scholars as the "A Text" (first published 1604) and "B Text" (first published 1616).

3. The modern texts

Read and explore modern editions of the plays with full annotation and commentary, as well as introductory essays and illustrations from performance.

Putting it all together

In the Home Pages for each of the plays, you will find another new resource: these focal pages collect everything related to the work across the whole site, from the texts and facsimiles to performance, and contextual and critical materials, and links to related sites elsewhere on the Web.