Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kristen: ENG 7021 11/20

Humanities Project Rationale:

1. Who is working on this project?
Just me!

2. Briefly summarize the project. Include the length and scope of project as well as a description of the content.

I will be creating a website through weebly that can be used as a source for both 18th century reenactors and literature enthusiasts alike. This project will include a brief background of the time period, with biographies on the authors. I will take physical articles of clothing mentioned in the texts, analyze them in terms of the social context, and give representations of them from the 18th century. This "tracking" of fashion in the different texts will give readers a guide from which to visualize and interpret the articles of clothing in other works.

This is an ambitious plan, yet I am confident of its future completion. Here is my list so far of works to study, and their "fashionable" artifacts of women's clothing. I am not choosing only for frequency, but for importance to themes of the text.

Evalina: Apron
Tom Jones: Muff
The Beggar's Opera: Dress
Lady Mary Wortly Montagu: Corset
Addison and Steele: Hooped Petticoat

I may also include other clothing references in each text as a source. This list might also grow, depending on my other obligations. I would like to include men's clothing eventually too.

3. Why is this project necessary? Describe your target audience and explain how this project will help, educate, or entertain them. What gaps does it fill? How do you know that it does not repeat information already on the web?

I have found numerous sources describing 18th century clothing and literature separately; I propose putting them together for use by reenactors and researchers alike. Fashion is a medium between the two groups, promoting a positive relationship that is guided by research can only benefit both. Having a clear knowledge of these articles of clothing will help literature studies represent and understand their function within the text. The study of these sources does occur separately, but in one place could be quite useful. It will also be entertaining; those reenactors that I do know personally have noted that they would love to read such a source!

4. Why is this project important? Explain its significance to understanding the 18th century novel.

As a novice seamstress and historical costumer, I am always intrigued by authentic references to clothing. They tell so much about a society: gender, station, and etiquette can all be conveyed with a simple piece of lace. I can easily visualize these pieces, and yet can understand how others can have trouble understanding what they mean in context of the time period. The novel, a newer form of writing, tracks the human experience of clothing of that time. There have been many occasions that my historical costuming background has led to further analysis of the text.

5. What makes this an ideal digital project? That is, why is it uniquely suited to an Internet environment? How does it differ from a traditional paper or work of print?

Describing clothing without an image is dreadful. Having studied 19th century sewing guides, I find myself puzzled attempting to understand the descriptions without a picture. It could only be more difficult for someone with no background with historical clothing! The Internet is a useful tool for such a project; it is how I have completed much of my research, as well as other students and researchers. It will also reach out to reenactor groups, and could help them complete their own research. This is not a traditional term paper; yet I believe the breadth and depth of the site will help many.

6. How will it relate to other works on the novel, print or digital? Will it build on them, link to them, or have a completely separate existence?

It really depends on the piece that will be studied. The works of Lady Montagu have had the fashion studied exclusively. Since there are few references in Evalina, I could not find much fashion research there.This site will link all of these sources, and yet exist distinctly from other fashion/literature sites. I imagine that a student having trouble understanding the importance of dress in The Beggar's Opera might find use of clothing description in Tom Jones.

7. How will it engage your desired audience? Will there be any interactive features? Will it create or draw on a previously existing online community? How will you let your potential readers know it exists?

Visual imagery will be the most interactive-I am working out how to do this right now. This source will be a contribution to many online communities that reenact the 18th century with clothing. I am currently a part of several on Facebook, and will ask members what will be most helpful to their own research. I will use the internet as the source for communicating this project.

8. What research will you need to do in order to accomplish your goals?

I will need to reexamine my notes as well as the texts. My research will extend into historical fashion sources, as well as performance theory and articles (with footnotes!) read in class. The OED will be particularly helpful in discovering clothing word meaning. It is my goal to continue adding to this site even after I finish this class.

9. What tools and technology do you need to learn or access to achieve your goals?

Weebly is incredibly easy to use, though I will need to understand more about what can be place on the site. I will also use a word compilation on the site once it is complete, and possibly a map of where in England the clothing is tracked. There are easy applications on the internet for each of these representations.

10. How do you plan to divide the work?

Since I am a person of schedules, here is my plan for the next few weeks. I have already created the website and started to compile research.

11/15-11/21 Research Compiling. Find quotes, sources, visual images
11/22-11/26 Typing, website creation, all pages completed
11/27-11/30 Editing process, show peers/editors
12/1-12/11 Refining edits, fine tuning, any additions

If you have read through all of this and would like to see what I have complete so far, check it out at


Thank you for looking, and I look forward to your responses!


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