May Circular, 2006


Dear Colleagues,


We are pleased to report that in April and May The Literary Encyclopedia covered its costs for the first time, netting circa ?2000 ($3800 per month). Evidently we expect revenue to be lower during the summer months and to rise again in the autumn, but this is a positive boost to our development,and helpful in proving to librarians that we are valued in the marketplace. We have also been pleased to hear from the University of Pennsylvania, McGill University and Dickinson College that they wish to take out institutional subscriptions. The JISC consultation in the UK ends on June 2nd, and we are about to address major North American libraries, so we will report further on subscriptions in our next circular.

Content Development

  1. Editors: we regret to announce the retirement of David Williams who has made an invaluable contribution to the publication in his role as French editor, and we are pleased to announce that Tim Unwin (Bristol) has taken over from David and is already making great strides. We are also pleased to announce that Richard Utz (Northern Iowa) has joined the English editorial group to develop early modern English Literature and Neil Forsyth (Lausanne) has joined to work on Milton and 17th Century English Literature. We also welcome David Kastner (Yale) to develop African American Theatre, and Brendan Nicholls (Leeds) to augment our team working on African Literature.
  2. We have received many offers of contributions in recent weeks and now have nearly over 1350 contributors and over 800 entries commissioned, most for delivery later this year. A list of forthcoming contributions is now visible from the menu bar, in part to advertise our growth rate to potential subscribers.
  3. I met with our Hispanic and Lusitanic team in Nottingham last week and this aspect of the publication will be going ahead strongly in the coming months.

Software Development

  1. Timelines; we have at last enabled timelines to be saved to Bookshelves (as for example here: This feature enables teachers in particular to offer a customised timeline to their students, and also helps our readers to appreciate the depth and richness of our offerings.
  2. Open Search: we have also installed an "Open Search" which is a huge aid to browsing. Type in any word or phrase and it will be sought in any of our tables, producing some very useful discoveries -- for example a search on "Hamlet" brings up "Objective Correlative" and mention of Eliot's 1919 essay.
  3. In June we will unveil the initial versions of two new features -- our "Anthology" and "Individual Author Timelines" -- which we will be perfecting and expanding across the summer.
  4. Contributor Data Centre: we are also at work on this aspect of the site and hope to have a version running by the end of June. To this end, if you are not sure of your password, or if you are a new contributor and have not set up an account yet, please contact us to have this organised.

We wish you an excellent period of reflection and research,

With best regards,


The Literary Encyclopedia at