Domestic Strife in Early Modern Europe: Images and Texts in a virtual anthology

  1. 1. Martin Holmes

    University of Victoria

  2. 2. Claire Carlin

    University of Victoria

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The seventeenth-century engravings and texts collected for
the project Le mariage sous l’Ancien Régime: une anthologie
virtuelle all belong to the polemical genre. The institution of
marriage was undergoing intense scrutiny and criticism in
light of Reformation questioning of Catholic practices, and
popular discourse and images refl ected this malaise. The
cuckold attacked both verbally and physically by a nagging
wife, or, conversely, a sassy wife receiving her “correction”
are themes of the Middle Ages reproduced frequently during
the early modern period, but with new sophistication as
engravings became the primary site for the representation
of problems with marriage, as DeJean has shown. Whereas
polemical writings fl ourished in the fi rst half of the century
according to Banderier and Carlin 2002, images gained more
complexity in design and incorporated increasing amounts of
commentary during the reign of Louis XIV (1661-1715). New
variations on medieval topics occur, as bourgeois women in
salons comment on marriage or wrestle with their husbands
over the pants in the family. A novel twist on spousal confl ict
appears in engravings such as “L’invention des femmes”
(Lagniet) and “Operateur céphalique” (Anon.): inspired by the
Renaissance interest in dissection, the notion that behaviour
could be modifi ed through radical brain surgery introduces a
new kind of violence into marriage satire.
From the beginning of the project, our approach to construction
of the corpus has been based on the ideal that texts and images
must both be full and equivalent members of the collection.
Images have been treated as texts, and our goal has been to
make explicit, in textual annotations, as much of the signifi cant
information they encode as possible. In this respect, the
Mariage project is very different from other markup projects
which integrate images and texts, such as those described in
Porter 2007; while projects such as Pembroke 25 (Szarmach
& Hall n.d.) and the Electronic Aelfric integrate images and
text in sophisticated ways, the images are of manuscript pages,
and the at the heart of these digital editions is the process of
transcription. By contrast, while the engravings in the Mariage
collection may include fairly extensive textual components
— see, for instance, “Le Fardeau du Menage” (Guérard 1712),
which incorporates over 60 lines of verse — the text is
ancillary to the scenes depicted. Thus, the engravings in the
Mariage project are somewhere on a continuum between the
page-images of a digital edition of a manuscript, and the images of artworks in a project such as the On-Line Picasso Project
(Mallen n.d.).
At the simplest level, marking up the images means transcribing
and clarifying any text which actually appears on the engravings.
This makes the text on the images as searchable as that of the
poetry and prose. Following this, we have begun to identify and
discuss the signifi cance of individual fi gures in the engravings,
as well as linking these fi gures to similar elements in other
engravings, or to texts in the collection. Figure 1 shows this
kind of linking in as it appears to the reader in a Web browser.
The wife’s lover is a recurrent fi gure in images and texts of the
period, and the annotation links to textual references, and also
to a segment of another image. Figure 1: Linking between image areas and other texts.
In addition, the search system on the site has been designed to
retrieve both blocks of text and segments of images, based on
annotations to the images. Figure 2 shows part of the result
set from a search for “frapp*”, including sections of images and
a line from a poem. In the case of an image hit, clicking on the
link will lead to the annotated image with the “hit annotation”
Figure 2: Results of a search, showing sections of images
as well as a poem retrieved from the database.
We are now marking up symbols and devices, and have begun
to contemplate the possibility that we might mark up virtually
every object which appears in the engravings. Although this
would be rather laborious, it would enable the discovery of
more correspondences and perhaps more symbolism than is
currently apparent. To be able to search for “poule”, and retrieve
all the depictions of hens which appear in the collection (as well
as instances of the word itself), and view them together on the
same page, would provide a powerful tool for researchers. This
level of annotation (the identifi cation and labelling of everyday
objects) does not require any signifi cant expertise, but it will
contribute a great deal to the value of the collection.
Using the combination of textual and image markup, our team
has been able to uncover links across the decades as well as
slowly developing differences among diverse types of polemical
images. Research questions we have begun to explore include
the following:
- How does the use of key vocabulary evolve over the
sixteenth to eighteenth centuries?
- How does the use of objects, especially the instruments of
violence, change over this period?
- How does the use of stock verses and verse forms
develop over the course of this period?
In addition to discussing the research tools and insights
emerging out of the Mariage project, this presentation will
look at the development of the Image Markup Tool, an open source Windows application which was created initially for
use in the Mariage project, but which is now used in a range
of other projects as well. The IMT has acquired a number of
new features in response to the requirements of the Mariage
project, and is also developing in reaction to changes in TEI P5.
The original approach of the IMT was to blend SVG with TEI
to produce a dual-namespace document (Carlin, Haswell and
Holmes 2006), but the incorporation of the new <facsimile>,
<surface> and <zone> elements in the TEI transcr module (TEI
Consortium 2007, 11.1) now provide a native TEI framework
which appears suited to image markup projects such as
Mariage, and in December 2007, a new version of the Image
Markup Tool was released, which relinquishes the SVG-based
approach in favour of a pure TEI schema. This simplifi cation
of the fi le format will, we hope, make it much easier for endusers
to integrate markup produced using the IMT into Web
applications and other projects.
Further developments in the IMT are projected over the next
few months. The current version of the application is really
focused on marking up the single, standalone images which
are central to the Mariage project. However, <facsimile> is
described in the TEI Guidelines as containing “a representation
of some written source in the form of a set of images rather
than as transcribed or encoded text” (TEI Consortium
2007, 11.1). The IMT really ought to be capable of producing
documents which contain multiple images, and we plan to
extend it to make this possible.
Anon. n.d. “Operateur Cephalique”. Bibliothèque Nationale
de France Cote RES TF 7 4e (Cliché P123-IFFNo190). [http://] Accessed
Banderier, G. “Le mariage au miroir des poètes satiriques français
(1600-1650).” In Le mariage dans l’Europe des XVIe et XVIIe
siècles: réalités et représentations, vol. 2. Ed. R. Crescenzo et al.
Presses de l’Université Nancy II, 200. 243-60.
Carlin, C. “Misogamie et misogynie dans les complaintes des
mal mariés au XVIIe siècle.” In La Femme au XVIIe siècle. Ed.
Richard G. Hodgson. Biblio 17, vol. 138. Tübingen: Gunter
Narr Verlag, 2002. 365-78.
Carlin, C., E. Haswell and M. Holmes. 2006. “Problems with
Marriage: Annotating Seventeenthcentury French Engravings
with TEI and SVG.” Digital Humanities 2006 Conference
Abstracts. 39-42. [http://www.allc-ach2006.colloques.parissorbonne.
fr/DHs.pdf]. July 2006. Accessed 2007-11-05.
Carlin, C. et al. 2005-2007. Le mariage sous L’Ancien Régime:
une anthologie virtuelle.[] Accessed
DeJean, J. 2003. “Violent Women and Violence against Women:
Representing the ‘Strong’ Woman in Early Modern France.”
Signs, 29.1 (2003): 117-47.
Guérard, N. 1712. “Le Fardeau du Menage”. Bibliothèque
Nationale de France Cote EE 3A PET FOL, P. 7 (Cliché
06019648). []
Accessed 2007-11-05.
Holmes, M. 2007. Image Markup Tool v. 1.7. [http://www.tapor.] Accessed 2007-11-05.
Lagniet, J. ca. 1660. “L’Invention des femmes.” Bibliothèque
Nationale de France, Cote TE 90 (1) FOL (Cliché 06019644).
Accessed 2007-11-05.
Mallen, E., ed. n.d. The Picasso Project. Texas A&M University.
[] Accessed 2007-11-05.
Porter, D. C. 2007. “Examples of Images in Text Editing.” Digital
Humanities 2007 Conference Abstracts. 159-160.
Szarmach, Paul, and Thomas H. Hall. n.d. Digital Edition of
Cambridge, Pembroke College MS 25. (Pembroke 25 project.)
Cited in Porter 2007.
TEI Consortium, eds. 2007. “Digital Facsimiles.” Guidelines for
Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange. [Last modifi ed date:
2007-10-28]. [ doc/
en/html/PH.html] Accessed 2007-11-07.

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2008

Hosted at University of Oulu

Oulu, Finland

June 25, 2008 - June 29, 2008

135 works by 231 authors indexed

Conference website:

Series: ADHO (3)

Organizers: ADHO

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None