Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur is one of the most important literary works written in Middle English prose. It has continued to fascinate readers throughout the centuries. The British Library Additional Manuscript 59678, known as 'The Winchester Manuscript', is the earliest surviving version of Le Morte Darthur.
The Digital Winchester Project is the result of collaboration between the British Library, the HUMI Project at Keio University, Tokyo, the Centre for Textual Scholarship at De Montfort University, and the University of Wales Bangor.
The digitisation of the Winchester Manuscript was undertaken by a team of Japanese experts in a range of fields: a professional photographer, bibliographers and IT specialists, all from the HUMI Project. It was led by director Professor Toshiyuki Takamiya and technical director Professor Masaaki Kashimura.
The HUMI (HUmanities Media Interface) Project is supported by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's Open Research Center (ORC) Project. The HUMI Project - HUMI, read as "fumi" (letters), a Japanese word that can mean documents, literature, and history - aims to pursue research in the field of digital bibliography and to construct a research environment for that purpose. The Project has also digitised our two copies of the Gutenberg Bible and Caxton's first and second editions of the Canterbury Tales. The HUMI digital editions are gratefully acknowledged on the British Library's table of benefactors.
This web-based edition of the manuscript is being developed by
Takako Kato at the Centre
for Textual Scholarship at De Montfort University; Mr Colin
Wight and his colleagues at the British Library, Professor P.J.C.
Field and Dr Raluca Radulescu at the Centre
for Medieval Studies, the University of Wales Bangor; and Professor
Toshiyuki Takamiya at Keio University. The entire work will be viewable
page by page.
It is also planned to develop an enhanced version with a fully
searchable transcript, including details of spelling variants, abbreviation
and presentation, linked to the page images. This will permit some
intriguing features of the manuscript to be investigated. These
include scribal errors and corrections, marginalia, textual divisions,
the extensive use of red ink, watermarks, dry-point glosses, and
offsets of printing ink from Caxton's workshop, as discovered by
Dr Lotte Hellinga in 1977. This edition will also be enhanced by
essays from experts in the field.