Verse Miscellanies Online is a searchable critical edition of seven printed verse miscellanies published in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Beginning with Tottel’s Miscellany, published in 1557, the printed poetry miscellanies helped to establish a vernacular lyric tradition in England and shape the history of English poetry. In each year of Elizabeth’s reign, one miscellany was either printed or reprinted. The verse miscellanies can tell us much about how literary tastes were shaped and changed, the proximity of elite and popular forms, the influence of music on the development of the lyric, developments in versification and literary conventions, and the growth of the book trade in England.
This edition was produced in partnership with EEBO-TCP, who provided the XML-TEI files, which have been enhanced through the addition of explanatory annotations, and critical apparatus, including glossaries of mythological and historical figures, musical settings, and indexes of authors and first lines.The format of this edition allows for the exploration of these texts in ways made possible by the digital medium. Users are able to search for and identify poems according to author attribution, form, or rhyme scheme, and to navigate through the multiple links between the miscellanies and the poems they contain. These tools help to demonstrate the ways in which individual collections engage with one another through sharing poems, poetical forms, topoi and themes. Context for understanding how these books were composed, published and read and who was involved in their production is also provided on this site.
The ‘Commonplacer’ is an editing tool that is intended to facilitate engagement with the processes of selection, modification, and compilation underlying the creation of each of the printed volumes. Overall, the edition is designed to allow the modern reader to keep the intertextuality and malleability of early modern poetical culture always in view.