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Time, Space, and the Itinerary

Mapping the Siege of Jerusalem

Alyssa McLeod, Author

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Conclusions, and Looking Ahead


The development of this model of narrative time and space in the Siege of Jerusalem answers Johanna Drucker's call for digital researchers to "synthesize method and theory into ways of doing as thinking" ("Humanistic Theory" 87). Modelling a digital itinerary will reveal much about the medieval processional understanding of the itinerary for the fields of both medieval literary studies and art history, sidestepping the humanities' problematic tendency to limit its disciplinary efforts to that which other disciplines do not address. Cartography, history, and religious studies all offer important contributions to the study of medieval literature. Relying on the Timeline widget, developed by the highly interdisciplinary Simile Project at MIT, allows me to address gaps in medieval literary scholarship while working with a platform that will communicate my argument in a graphical representation users will find easy to understand and operate. Given the complexity of medieval spatiotemporality, communicability is key to a digital model that will effectively "translate" the medieval worldview into terms twenty-first-century readers can understand.

Statement of Future Development

The steps I outline in the final section of my paper, including TEI encoding, XSLT conversion, and the development of the Timeline widget, will occur this summer at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, where I am taking a course in XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) with Syd Bauman and Martin Holmes for a credit with the university. Given the time constraints, I am only going to focus this summer's work on the Prologue and first section of the poem, and in doing so hopefully establish a replicable prototype that I can extend to the rest of the poem at some point in the near future.

Coding the text in TEI adds more time and effort to my work this summer, but ensures that the project will remain future friendly. The Timeline widget will provide an excellent means of data visualization at this point in the project's development, but open-source code tends to change, and I may want to further complicate the relationship between time and space in the model at a later date, perhaps when my JavaScript ability will permit me to develop my own digital platform.
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