Digital Emerson: A Collective Archive is a group project designed and implemented by the graduate students in "Literary History Becoming Digital" (ENGL 529) led by Professor Augusta Rohrbach:
Aaron M. Moe, Adam Heidebrink , Charlie Potter, David Tagnani, Juan Carlos Flores, Jennifer Kiehne, Kellie Herson, Rachel Sanchez, Stacy Wittstock.
The seminar considered the problems -–scholarly, ethical, aesthetic, technical, and cultural-- that arise as literary studies moves away from old technologies and artifacts and is replaced or augmented by the digital.
We have called it “A Collective Archive” after Walter Benjamin's article “Theses on History” in which he describes the reciprocal action of the archive as a place that simultaneously contains and commits history. The archive, according to Benjamin, is as much a record as it is an argument. So, too, this website both records our efforts to understand Emerson and share our knowledge as much as it also makes an argument for the value added to the study of Emerson in a web 2.0 context.
What we have assembled is an extensive archive--one that includes primary texts as well as secondary material.. Our approach has been to foreground Emerson’s recurrent calls for the individual’s creative engagement with intellectual history.
The site is divided into three distinct sections: Text, Context, and Hypertext. Thus, in addition to the sections providing Emerson’s published texts, we developed what you might call the “value-added” sections we have named“Contexts” and “Hypertext.”
This site is hosted by the Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections library at Washington State University. Special thanks to Trevor Bond and Alex Merrill for their support--technical, institutional, and phenomenal.
The sections in "Context" provide users with background—historical, biographical, cultural, and literary—all of which are very much rooted in key texts by Emerson and his contemporaries.
Hypertext presents us with a unique opportunity, one that invovles extending the exploration of Emerson through using technological innovations.
Collected texts by Ralph Waldo Emerson made available by Project Gutenberg.