Friday, May 14, 2010

A wonderful new resource -- The Online Froissart

I am currently at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo. "Kalamazoo," as many people call it, is my favorite academic conference, big, sprawling, varied, on the informal side. Sometimes the weather is even springlike, rather than wintry or summery! (But you can't count on anything, weatherwise!)

Today I had the pleasure of being introduced to a new scholarly resource by its designers, who put it through its paces, to our growing appreciation. It is the Online Froissart, an electronic edition and translation of the famous 14th century chronicler.

About a decade ago, I started typing Tales from Froissart out of my copy of Johnes' early 19th century translation and onto the Web. I am in a good position to appreciate how much of an advance this is. This is huge, since it allows you to browse transcripts of lots of manuscripts, collate (compare) them with each other, examine images, etc., etc. One example: if you click on a word in the French text, the program takes you immediately to a definition at the ATIFL Middle French dictionary. This kind of generosity reminds me of undeserved divine grace.

Although there are still improvements to come, especially in the use of more dynamic instruction,please have a look at it now. Poke around and get beyond that bland exterior. It's time to rock 'n' roll Froissart!

And if you've got an ms. of your own that you want to study, know that the most useful parts of this program are open source.

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