not without mustard :: research


Textual Studies

I’m interested in the historical and material conditions of literary production, mediation, and reception; the theory and practice of textual editing in print and digital formats; enumerative bibliography and publishing histories; and the cultural and institutional processes of canon formation.

I am the founder and coordinating editor (with Janelle Jenstad, James Mardock, and Sarah Neville) of Digital Renaissance Editions, which publishes open-access critical editions of Renaissance drama and literature using LEMDO, a platform for developing Endings-compliant, TEI-XML editions. I contributed to Joost Daalder’s editions of The Honest Whore, Part One and Part Two for Digital Renaissance Editions and am currently editing Fair Em (with Kevin Quarmby) for Digital Renaissance Editions and Hyde Park (with Mark Houlahan) for the Oxford Complete Works of James Shirley.

I am also general editor of the Bibliography of Editions of Early English Drama (BEEED), which seeks to catalogue every edition of a Renaissance play published since 1711; case studies based on statistical analysis of trends and patterns in this bibliographical data form the basis of a long-term project, provisionally titled Reproducing Renaissance Drama. I also serve on the editorial or advisory boards for several editorial projects, including Internet Shakespeare Editions, the Folger Shakespeare Library's Digital Anthology of Early Modern English Drama, and The Map of Early Modern London.

Computational Studies and Authorship Attribution

I’m interested in digital methods for literary and textual studies, especially authorship attribution and computational stylistics.

My first book, Style, Computers, and Early Modern Drama: Beyond Authorship (Cambridge University Press, 2017), co-authored with Hugh Craig, applies methods of computational stylistics to identify latent trends in genre, period, repertory, and authorial style across a large corpus of early modern plays. It is the first monograph of its kind in the field of Shakespeare and early modern studies, and has been lauded by reviewers as ‘a body blow to partial, idiosyncratic and subjective literary criticism and to innumerate or illogical scholars’ (TLS), ‘uncommonly good at provoking fresh ways of looking at the field’ (Studies in English Literature), and a study that has ‘redefined the scope of computational analyses of early modern drama’ (Review of English Studies).

I’ve written several articles and chapters on the ‘digital turn’ in Shakespeare studies, from using databases to trace Shakespeare’s sources to the impact of new media on how we read, study, and perform the plays and poems. I joined the Thomas Nashe Project as a Co-Investigator, tasked with overseeing stylometric work on Nashe’s dubia and stylistic analysis of his canonical works, and am involved in similar authorship attribution study for the Oxford Complete Works of John Marston, having previously contributed to the New Oxford Shakespeare. With Rory Loughnane, I am a general editor of CADRE: Co-Authored Drama in Renaissance England, a wiki-style forum for scholars to share evidence and information about the co-authorship of plays (including practices of collaboration, revision, and adaptation) written between 1570 and 1642.

Early Modern Literature and Culture

In addition to studying the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries (especially the drama and non-dramatic prose), I’m also interested in Renaisance literary and cultural history more broadly — in particular, the transmission and adaptation of classical and medieval texts and images. This research has covered a range of topics, including Jews and Judaism, lycanthropy, witchcraft, bagpipes, owls, bearded women, spitting, and dancing.

© 2011– Brett Greatley-Hirsch