Welcome to the Mabbott Poe TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) editions page. For more information on TEI, please follow this link

The TEI editions would not have been possible without the generosity and patience of Nikki White and Stephanie Blalock of the University of Iowa Library's Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio.

We adapted the style sheet for this project from The Walt Whitman Archive's "Annotations and Marginalia." Many thanks to the WWA for inspiring Mabbott Poe's TEI editons. Special thanks to the WWA staff who generously provided valuable guidance as we adapted and tested this project.

For more information about this project, scroll past the list of titles below for a brief project statement.

Click on a title to view the TEI version of the tale from Mabbott's copy of Harrison's The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe. Scans of the original text are embedded in the electronic text.

The Premature Burial 


Mabbott Poe TEI Editions Background:

In summer 2018, Jeffrey A. Savoye of the Poe Society of Baltimore referred us to a copy of James A. Harrison's sixteen-volume edition of The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (1902) in the University of Iowa Library's Special Collections. The library's Mabbott Poe collection of books has two copies of the Harrison edition, neither of which we had taken the time to look at yet. Intrigued by Savoye’s tip, we consulted the two copies and found that the most battered of the two, its broken spines repaired with green electrical tape to match the binding, served Mabbott as a textual workshop of sorts, where he could talk back to and build upon the work of his predecessor. The annotations clearly demonstrated to us that Harrison's edition not only provided a foundation for Mabbott's preparation of his own edition of Poe, but also referred to the documents collected in Mabbott's research files: the online Mabbott Poe's main exhibit. Soon after, we began to consider how a digital edition could represent the relationship between Mabbott's work with The Complete Works of 1902 and his preparatory files of scraps, ephemera, and facsimiles.

The discovery of the annotated Harrison edition gave us the opportunity to begin experimenting with a TEI edition of Mabbott's annotated copy of Harrison. XML (Extensible Markup Language), the standard markup language for TEI projects, is customizable and formally rigid: it can be customized for the peculiar needs of editorial projects, and it also forces the editor to problem solve while working around its fairly linear formal constraints. 

The TEI version of Mabbott's marked-up copy of Harrison's Poe highlights formal features of Mabbott's editorial process: for the most part, the editorial commentary he constructed around the printed text, consisting mainly of collation marks (numbered paragraphs and lines), and his notes indicating his search for Poe's own sources. However, the TEI version also underscores the challenges we continue to face as we translate paper-based, hand-inscribed materials into electronic texts. A comparison of digital images of the text and the electronic transcription reveals limitations, which consist, most obviously, of the formal language's inability to represent the placement of Mabbott's manuscript annotations, not to mention the differences between handwriting and print.

Yet limitations can be instructive. Whether marking up a printed text by hand or using a stylus to mark up a text on a touch screen, the engagement between human and machine (book or computer) remains a complex and open-ended kind of engagement that machine-readable languages (XML, HTML) cannot effectively translate. Machine-readable languages can offer us a variant—let's call it an "open translation"—of the paper-based text that draws our attention to the formal properties of the printed page. Fortunately, we have paper as well as computers to learn from in archival endeavors, and Mabbott Poe takes its order from both.