English and American Literature


Full-Color Nostradamus, Galileo, Kepler, and More

Posted by: Amanda Rust


Google Books, in partnership with many of the great libraries in Europe, has just released full-color scans of important texts from the 16th and 17th centuries. They include Nostradamus’ prophecies, Kepler’s textbook on astronomy, and several works by Galileo including his Systema cosmicum, arguing that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

The full-color scans are particularly important for illustrations, diagrams, maps, and distinguishing handwriting. Some of the books ages’ lead to bleedthrough (where the type on the other side of the page is visible), but even in those cases the full-color images give a sense of how the physical material has changed over time.

There is not a separate interface through which you can access these books, but using the date limiters in the Google Books Advanced Search will help you find them. More detail is available at the Inside Google Books blog post.

Posted in: English and American Literature, Foreign Languages and Literatures, History, Research Online


New Release: 2,200 18th-Century Texts

Posted by: Amanda Rust


Through lots of hard work from the University of Michigan Libraries and support from the Gale publishing company, over 2,200 fully-searchable 18th-century texts have been made freely available through 18th Century Connect, an excellent collection of online, peer-reviewed resources in the 18th century.

Why is this such a big deal? Isn’t everything on Google Books? In a word, no. These texts are hard-to-find and typically not available anywhere else. In addition, 18th-century spelling and typography are so different from ours, and so non-standard, that machines have a hard time automatically reading and understanding these texts. So every single text had to be re-typed and correctly coded to allow analysis by modern computers.

Until now, these texts were only available through an expensive personal or institutional purchase. But this subset has now been released into the wild, which is very exciting news for humanists — see for yourself at 18th Century Connect.

For more information, see the website of the Text Creation Partnership (the lovely people that do all the hard work of re-typing and coding these titles) or their official blog post.

Posted in: English and American Literature, Information and Society, Library News and Events, Research Online


Publishing Workshop with Gordon Hutner, Editor of American Literary History

Posted by: Hillary Corbett


Students in the humanities should consider attending this event on Thursday, January 27th. Even if you’re not an English major or grad student, if you’re considering a career in research and publishing in the humanities, I recommend hearing what Dr. Hutner will share about what goes into publishing a scholarly journal!

Here are the full details of the event, from the NU calendar:

440 Egan Research Center
Thursday, January 27, 2011, 12 – 1:15pm

Professor Gordon Hutner, a distinguished scholar of American literature and founding editor of the journal American Literary History, will be conducting a publication workshop to discuss how to publish work in a journal such as ALH. This is an incredible opportunity for students to meet an important figure in the field and to receive an inside view of the publication process.

Prof. Hutner will also deliver a talk the same afternoon as part of the Barrs Lecture Series. The talk is titled “The 21st Century American Novel: A History” and will be held at 5:30 p.m. in 340 Egan.

Please plan to attend both of these events, and come prepared for lively and valuable discussions.

Type of Event: Workshop/Training
Audience: Faculty/Staff, Students, Public
Cost: None
Sponsor: Department of English, Co-Sponsored by the Humanities Center
Contact Name: Department of English
Contact Phone: 617-373-4540
Contact Email: m.daigle@neu.edu
More info: www.english.neu.edu

Posted in: English and American Literature, Library News and Events, Scholarly Communications, Serendipity


On This Day: January 21

Posted by: Brendan Ratner


On this day in history, the great author George Orwell died in London. Perhaps best known for his dystopian novel 1984, George Orwell was a proponent of social justice in his time. Today we read his books and take from them the lessons of equality, freedom, and justice that were being expressed in the 1940s. The library has a great collection of books, videos, e-books, and more that you can find here, or by searching for George Orwell on NUCat. Take some time out to read or re-read some of the 20th century’s finest literary works!

Posted in: English and American Literature, Information and Society, Read, Listen, Watch, Serendipity, Staff Interests


Advice and research for teachers of writing

Posted by: G. Karen Merguerian


Three research journals from the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English)  are now available electronically through the NU Libraries:

College Composition and Communication focusing on practical strategies for teaching based on the latest research and theory

Language Arts, a magazine for those who teach elementary and middle school writing

Research in the Teaching of English for original research and scholarly essays on teaching English at all levels

I’ve been enjoying looking at these as I reflect on how I was taught to write, and on the NU Libraries’ support for First Year and Advanced Writing in the Disciplines programs at NU.  Of all the skills I learned in school and college, writing has been the most important, hands down.

What do you think helps students learn to write?  Do you find the essays in the NCTE journals helpful? Practical? Provocative?

Posted in: Education, English and American Literature, English as a Second Language, Library News and Events, Research Online