Plan of the Archive
The archive Early Ruskin Manuscripts (ERM) contains, at the most fundamental level, two sets of edited primary materials: works and manuscripts.
- A work in this edition consists of a discrete text by Ruskin (e.g., a poem, an essay, a sermon, a mathematical proof), including all available witnesses of that text (each of these edited and annotated), and accompanied by the workʼs explanatory apparatus and available facsimiles. The scope of a work may be comprised by a poem of only a few lines or by a composite‐genre project extending over many lengthy sections of verse, prose, and illustration. The edition partially excludes letters and wholly excludes diaries, the latter being edited as part of the John Ruskin Digital Archive.
- A manuscript is a physical document manifesting Ruskinʼs texts, represented in the archive by its own explanatory apparatus in addition to the works that make up the manuscript.
Organizationally, the archive turns on these basic units, as represented by a given workʼs Work Pages and by a given manuscriptʼs Manuscript Pages. The fundamental relation between these two kinds of units is the manuscript as container and the work as contained. For Ruskin, however, the separate integrity of these units often posed a creative tension. He treated some manuscript notebooks as anthologies that assembled many separate works, but he also developed single works into complex, lengthy composites that usurped the borders of their manuscript witness. The archive aims to represent and preserve this creative tension through its editorial methodology (see Editorial and Encoding Rationale and Methodology).
A given work is typically represented by the following kinds of documents:
- the Work Apparatus Page;
- the Work Text Pages, consisting of
- Figures integral to the work.
When a work is selected from the indicies (by title or first line), or from any other location in the archive, the selection defaults to the Work Apparatus Page. From here, the reader may choose from the list of witnesses, and read the main body of commentary on the work. This page is headed by the editorial title of the work, a form of the title that is standardized according to rules given in the System of Title Citation for Works, in order to ensure consistent reference throughout the archive. (The Work Apparatus Page also includes a section, Title, devoted to explaining Ruskinʼs own title or titles for the work, if any, along with the often complex subsequent history of entitling the work.)
Work Apparatus Page
The Apparatus Page for each work is divided into seven sections, listed in a menu at the top of the page: Witnesses, Title, Genre, Manuscripts, Date, Composition and Publication, Discussion.
- Witnesses. All available witnesses for a given work are listed, with each item hyperlinked to an edited transcription. Clicking the item displays the transcript along with its associated facsimile in Showcase.
- Title. Declares the editorial title of the work, followed by Ruskinʼs form(s) of the title, if any, along with discussion of sources or other matters relevant to the entitling of the work by Ruskin or by his editors.
- Genre. Declares the workʼs genre and provides additional relevant information, such as (in the case of poems) a brief commentary on prosody.
- Manuscripts. All known physical manifestations of the work (e.g., drafts, fair copies, published versions) are listed, with each item hyperlinked to the Apparatus Page of the manuscript in question (see Manuscript Pages).
- Date. Contains the argument for the date assigned to the work.
- Composition and Publication. Analyzes the workʼs publication history, if any, and reconstructs the compositional history, if materials are available to form such an argument.
- Discussion. This final section takes up contextual matters not previously covered, such as evidence for a workʼs sources, the occasion of its composition, and other topics suggested by the workʼs contents.
Work Text Pages and Showcase
From the Work Apparatus Page, the reader may select available witnesses and corpora connected with the work, each of which opens a Work Text Page in Showcase, consisting of an edited transcription paired with a corresponding facsimile of the physical witness. At present, only edited transcriptions but not facsimiles are provided of commonly available printed witnesses, such as those in Poems (1891) and the Library Edition.
Showcase is the display space for Text Pages. The controls in Showcase include the following functions, ordered from left to right atop the Showcase window.
- Arrows. Left and right arrows respectively reverse and advance the reader through a workʼs available facsimiles for a particular witness, provided that witness occupies more than one facsimile. The reader may also select the available facsimiles from the pull‐down menu between the arrows.
- Windowpane. A facsimile and its transcript for a particular witness are tied together, and by default they appear side by side in Showcase. Using the windowpane control, however, the reader may fill the window with the facsimile alone, or with the transcript alone, and then return to the divided window.
- Magnification. A pull‐down menu increases or decreases magnification of the facsimile.
- Font. A pull‐down menu increases or decreases font size of the transcript.
- Hand toggle. A toggle tool (shown as a pen) allows the user to filter multiple hands in a witness. The default view exhibits all hands without discrimination. A pull-dowm menu allows the user to filter only John Ruskinʼs hand, or only other hands that may be present, such as Margaret Ruskinʼs, or John James Ruskinʼs.
Witnesses and Commentary
For discussion of the transcription and encoding methodologies governing the transcription of witnesses, see Editorial and Encoding Rationale and Methodology.
Transcriptions carry metadiscursive information and editorial commentary tied to specific passages of text. Unlike Notes, which deal with global topics hyperlinked throughout the archive, and the Apparatus Page, which supplies general commentary on a work as a whole, these more specialized annotations are accessed primarily at the local level of the textual witness, although this commentary is also searchable by keyword using the archiveʼs main Search tool.
- Glosses. These annotations are tied to specific passages in textual witnesses by superscript characters (letters or numbers, colored blue to distinguish from the original text). The hyperlinked characters open a separate window, with the desired commentary shaded for ease of reference. There are two types of glossses.
- Contextual glosses. Hyperlinked using Arabic numerals, these glosses annotate persons, places, literary and mythical references, historical background, and other contextual information needed to appreciate a particular passage. Also, annotations by Ruskinʼs earlier editors and by Ruskin himself are included here. These are distinguished from the current editorʼs glosses by a bracketed comment, such as [Ruskinʼs note].
- Textual glosses. Hyperlinked using lowercase alphabetical Latin characters, these glosses annotate textual matters affecting a particular passage, which are too specific to be treated in the Apparatus Page.
- Page notations. A gray bar marks page breaks in the witness, as reflected in the the corresponding facsimile.
- Line numbers. For poems, line numbering is transcribed from Ruskinʼs own marginal numbering in a manuscript, since this information can prove useful for textual analysis. In addition, editorial line numbering is provided.
Facsimile views, in the case of bound manuscripts, open to the page(s) containing the chosen witness of the work. At present, in most cases, this view will appear as a two‐page spread. These views are identical to what the reader finds when opening the facsimile from the Manuscript Pages.
For manuscripts that were formerly bound but now disassembled owing to damage, such as those comprised in MS IA, the facsimile view is often similar to a two‐page spread. Loose single‐sheet manuscripts are shown one side per view, recto followed by verso.
It is not a mission of ERM to catalogue and facsimile comprehensively the artwork that Ruskin produced between 1826 and 1842. However, where artwork forms an integral part of the works and manuscripts in its purview, the archive does facsimile and comment on those figures. Otherwise, artwork that is related but not integral to the archiveʼs contents receives commentary in the form of Notes and Glosses.
- Figure descriptions. Facsimiles of artwork are accompanied by a description that lists dimensions and medium along with other essential information, followed by commentary on influences and other contextual discussion. N
- Letters. Given the design of the archive, letters written by Ruskin and his family should be treated as Witnesses, and some letters do have this status in the archive, in cases where epistles either contain a witness of a work (e.g., a verson of a poem included in a letter) or necessarily constitute a work because a letter or portion of a letter is drafted as part of a manuscript. Otherwise, since the letters were ably edited by Van Akin Burd in The Ruskin Family Letters, this edition is referenced throughout the archive, with ERM supplying only manuscript facsimiles of letters where possible. The Figure descriptions for these facsimiles normally consist simply of a bibliographical reference to Burdʼs edition, where descriptive information can be found.
For some manuscripts, Manuscript Pages logically consist only of the Manuscript Apparatus Page and the Manuscript Facsmile, since a manuscript transcription would amount to the sum of the Text Pages constituing the work(s) contained within the manuscript. In some cases, however, ERM compiles corpuses—entire manuscripts or parts of manuscripts that Ruskin appears to have regarded as coterminous with a composite work or anthology of works (see Editorial and Encoding Rationale and Methodology).
Manuscript Apparatus Page
The Manuscript Apparatus Page is the default destination for any hyperlinked occurrence of a manuscript title, whether accessed through the indices, Works Pages, or various forms of commentary. The page is headed by the manuscriptʼs editorial title, as governed by rules given in the System of Title Citation for Major Manuscripts.
The Apparatus consists of seven sections: Title, Location, Provenance, Description, Contents, Discussion.
- Title. Declares the editorial title, and goes on to discuss the history of entitling the manuscript, including Ruskinʼs own title, if any, and his editorsʼ titles.
- Location. Identifies where the manuscript is currently held, along with any helpful cataloging information.
- Provenance. Describes the history of ownership and transmission. For many manuscripts, which share a common provenance with others, this section consists simply of a link to the appropriate section of the long note on Provenance. For some manuscripts, however, the Apparatus requires this section in order to elaborate on a unique history.
- Description. Describes physical characteristics, such as size, color, and kind of binding materials. In many cases, the description also includes what W. G. Collingwood, using a geological metaphor, termed the stratification of a manuscript notebook. Somewhat like an account of the collation of a printed work, the aim is in part to describe Ruskinʼs (and, sometimes, his and/or othersʼ) pagination of the manuscript, whether applied to an originally blank, bound notebook or to a compilation of originally separate leaves, bound at a later time. In the case of Ruskinʼs own page numbering, descriptions must often take account of some misnumbering of pages and of missing pages. More analytical and historical than descriptive, however, this section must also undertake a reconstruction of Ruskinʼs patterns of use of the manuscript. Some of this speculation may be reserved for the Discussion section.
- Contents. Lists simply sequentially the works contained in the manuscript. The titles in the list are active, hyperlinked to their respective Work Apparatus Page.
- Date. Provides the inclusive dates for creation of the manuscript by Ruskin and sometimes by others.
- Discussion. Topics germane to particular manuscripts are discussed here, often continuing the analysis of Ruskinʼs palimpsest‐like uses and reuses of an originally bound manuscript.
The complete facsimile of a manuscript—from cover to cover, if bound, viewed as a sequence usually of two‐page spreads—is the same as what a reader would view when selecting sequentially the Work Facsimiles it contains. (The difference in the terms Manuscript Facsimile and Work Facsimile is merely one of convenience referring, not to differing entities, but to viewing the same entity from different places in the archive—the Manuscript Pages and Works Pages, respectively.)
Notes contain commentary, which can be hyperlinked from any point in the archive (unlike Glosses, which anchor commentary to particular passages in witnesses). Notes are grouped in four subtypes:
The Bibliography is the reference point for bibliographical citations of works, published and unpublished, exclusive of the manuscripts and edited witnesses of works that comprise the archive itself. Througout the archive, bibliographical citations are given in short‐title form, hyperlinked to full citations in the Bibliography. Viewed as a full document, the Bibliography is divided into sections:
- Manuscript Sources
- Works in Manuscript by Ruskin and the Ruskin Family Other Than the Manuscripts Constituting This Edition
- Works in Manuscript by Authors Other Than the Ruskins
- Published Sources
- Works by Ruskin in Published Editions
- Secondary Sources, along with Primary Sources in Published Editions of Authors Other Than Ruskin