The Burns Library at Boston College has made a surprising discovery in their own Yeats archive– Yeats’ unpublished first play, Love and Death, written in 1884 when he was only 18 or 19 years of age. The play was hidden among boxes of journals, notebooks and correspondence that had been long overlooked. It was only last year when the play was re-discovered by the library as part of an in-house project to find “‘high impact’ candidates for digitization” in BC’s archives.
A team of more than 15 librarians, archivists, photographers, literary experts and a dedicated transcriber, began working on digitizing the play and taking extra precaution to “present the whole object as if you can hold it in your hands”. To accomplish this, the team presents the transcribed text alongside of high-resolution photographs of the handwritten pages. Click here to view the Love and Death website.
Regarding digitization, Jane Morris, BC’s scholarly communication librarian who is also leading the school’s digitization project, says, “It’s more than a trend. This is the new work of libraries, to make these things digital and available and discoverable, instead of having them closed off to the lucky few who have the means to travel here.’’ This viewpoint echos the idea of the “democratiz[ing] access to knowledge”, which Robert Darnton spoke about in the Q&A that was previously posted.
Boston College gives unpublished Yeats play new life online [The Boston Globe]
Love and Death Manuscript Archives [Boston College Libraries]