A Guardian piece by Nicola Davis describes an enticing project:
From Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark’s maverick schoolteacher, to Edward Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson’s alter ego villain, Edinburgh has long provided a backdrop for some of literature’s most enigmatic characters. Now a digital initiative is offering you the chance to explore the city’s streets through the eyes of the authors they inspired.
Launching on Monday, Lit Long: Edinburgh has an online interactive map that pinpoints the locations referred to in narrative extracts. “We wanted to find a way to look at the sedimented literary history of Edinburgh in a new way,” says Professor James Loxley of Edinburgh University, who led the work. By applying filters to the map, it is possible to narrow the extracts – depicted, appropriately enough, with a quill – to works based on keywords, titles or authors.
“Grassmarket, for example, is linked to a host of extracts including a grim description of the gallows from Sir Walter Scott’s The Heart of Midlothian: ‘This ill-omened apparition was of great height, with a scaffold surrounding it, and a double ladder placed against it, for the ascent of the unhappy criminal and executioner’.”
That “Lit Long: Edinburgh” link takes you to the Palimpsest project, “a 15-month programme by the universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews, and the Edina data centre.” The actual Lit Long: Edinburgh site will launch Monday, and I for one am looking forward to exploring it; this kind of mix of literary history and geography is one of the things the internet was made for. (Thanks, Eric!)