The James Merrill Digital Archive is an ongoing project and collaborative effort by Scholarly Publishing, the Manuscripts unit of Special Collections, and the Humanities Digital Workshop.
Intended as a resource for scholars, students, writers, and teachers, the James Merrill Digital Archive currently provides digital access to a small cross-section from the James Merrill Papers housed in Special Collections at Washington University in St. Louis. The opening to Merrill’s The Book of Ephraim clamors for a medium “that would reach / The widest public in the shortest time” (ll.3-4). For the past four years, students and staff have been working to digitize and encode Merrill’s notes, drafts, and proofs towards The Book of Ephraim to provide such an entrance to Merrill’s work, and to the richness of the process behind his finished poem. Merrill’s transcriptions of his Ouija board sessions with the spirit Ephraim, which was the inspiration for his epic poem, are also available in the digital archive.
This summer, graduate student Anwesha Kundu, as part of the Humanities Digital Workshop’s annual workshop, has completed the encoding of two more sections and they are now available on the website. Organized by letter of the alphabet and corresponding to the letters on an Ouija board, sections A-M are now available online.