Searchable Complete 1593 Arcadia Text Available in beta version

We are proud to announce the publication of a searchable text of the complete 1593 Arcadia. You can download the file (as one big .pdf)here: The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia (London: William Ponsonby, 1593). Our transcription is based on STC 22540, the Huntington Library copy of the first folio, HL 69478.

Why a searchable text now, and don’t we already have that in EEBO-TCP?

We’re fortunate to have the Early Modern Books Online Text Creation Partnership (EEBO-TCP) text, but both the images and the TCP text have significant errors and lacunae. The original images were made for University Microfilms, Inc. (UMI), a project that began in 1938 (see more on Folgerpedia’s entry). UMI missed several openings of the copy of the Arcadia they were microfilming and duplicated a few others. When the microfilm images were digitized for EEBO, the errors remained uncorrected, and they were reproduced when the TCP transcribed the text. When TCP transcribers couldn’t be sure of a letter, they transcribed it as a dot in the center of a line. Occasionally they mistook a long “s” for an “f,” too. Compositors occasionally used two “v’s” to form a “w,” and TCP transcribers faithfully reproduced the two “v’s.” Finally, TCP transcribers put some elements of the early modern page layout — page and line numbers — into the text proper, so that “25” might appear in the middle of a sentence followed by “30” near the end.

So our first order of business was to clean up the TCP transcriptions. To make things a little easier for searching, we also silently expanded text indicated by macrons, typically an m or an n squeezed out to make a line fit its space, or because the compositor was running out of the letters. We also reproduced all the page-breaks and line-breaks in the 1593 folio and, using simple .pdf editing, we reproduced the 1593 folio’s pagination and line numbering but kept the page and line numbers out of the text that machines will search. That means you can see a good representation of the 1593 folio opening-by-opening by viewing our file in the two-page mode in Adobe Acrobat or Mac’s Preview.

We especially want to thank the Woodbery Carlton Foundation and Stetson University Summer Research Grants for their invaluable financial support. Finally, thanks to Ingrid Pierce of Purdue University and Jose Bernier and Gary Sipe of Stetson University for their time, patience, and expertise.

Happy reading!