DigitalDonne: the Online Variorum


In addition to (a) reading a technical description of each volume, users can (b) index the volume's content by either poem title or page number, (c) browse through and (d) zoom in on images of the volume's pages and front- and back-matter, (e) concord the volume's contents, and (f) examine a concise list of press variants in each printed volume. Users navigate to the desired function by clicking the appropriate heading at the top of each volume's home page.

Bibliographical Description

Linked to images and web pages included elsewhere on this site, this description provides the collation formula for each printed edition and notes the variant contents of particular copies. For the standard account of each edition, see Geoffrey Keynes, A Bibliography of the Works of Dr. John Donne, Dean of St. Paul 's. 4th ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973).

Index of Poems

Titles used in the index are the Donne Variorum short forms, and each abbreviation is accompanied by the first line of the poem. Users may toggle back and forth between an alphabetized list of titles or a page-ordered table of contents by ticking the appropriate bird's eye at the top of the index page. Each index entry is a hot link; clicking on it brings up the combined transcription-image file of the poem in the volume.


Top-of-screen buttons and fillable panels allow one either to move through the volume page-by-page or to jump directly to a specified page by entering its number in the blank box.

Zoom Feature

A zoom feature permitting examination of page images in minute detail is also available. Clicking the page image will bring up a new window that offers zooming options. The enlarged image can be moved by clicking and dragging with the cursor. For the 1654 Letters and the holograph verse letter, clicking the image opens a window that displays zoom-in and zoom-out buttons in the top right-hand corner.


A.  For the 1633, 1635, and 1669 Poems and the St. Paul’s, Westmoreland, and O’Flahertie manuscripts
These concordances, prepared with software written especially for these editions by Carlos Monroy, employ the traditional key-word-in-context format to present an ordered list of each occurrence of a given word in the volumes, but it differs from conventional concordances in a number of ways:

  1. In addition to the list of words in modern typeface, users can view each word in the context of the original image.
  2. Users may choose whether or not to deploy a list of stop words in concording the volume.  If this option is not selected, every article, conjunction, and preposition will be included in the concordance.
  3. Constructions containing ampersands, elision marks and apostrophes, parentheses, hyphens, and digraphs (ae)  may be concorded along with actual words.
  4. The concordance does not distinguish between words beginning with capital letters and those beginning with minuscules, but spelling has not otherwise been regularized in the volume.  Thus, for example, "soul and "soule" appear as separate entries in the alphabetized list of key words.

Selecting a word to concord from the drop-down list presents the user with an organized set of all lines that contain the selected word, with the word itself highlighted in yellow.   Each line displayed is preceded by an IDentification code containing (a) the poem title, (b) the Donne Variorum numerical siglum for the poem, (c) the siglum of the source text (00A for the 1633 Poems, e.g.), and (d) the line number in the poem.  Entries in the set of lines are organized numerically by poem number and, within each poem, line number.

Each line in a concorded set is a hot link, which can be clicked to bring up the combined transcription-image containing the selected word.  In this display, the transcription line containing the word is located on the page by blue highlighting.

B. For the 1654 Letters and the “Lady Carew” holograph
These concordances were constructed by Donne Variorum staff using Rob Watt’s Concordance software, which produces output much like that of the concordances described above, but does not permit linking the concorded lines to the artifact’s images.  Lines containing concorded words may be viewed in a broader context by clicking on the numerical hyperlink shown to the right of each concorded line, which brings up the full text of the volume in the bottom frame of the screen. 

Users may also download a PDF file of the complete concordance and/or a PDF file of the complete transcription of the volume, as well as viewing and/or downloading a first-line index to the volume.

For a detailed discussion of the Letters concordance, click here.

Composite List of Variants

Organized sequentially by volume page number, this list pulls together in a single list all press variants so far identified in the edition, as well as listing titles missing in the artifact.  To facilitate analysis of the typesetting of the edition, including identification of corrected (cor) and uncorrected (unc) states of individual sheets, we have added to the page number an indication of the signature and forme on which each variant appears.

As used here, corrected and uncorrected are technical terms indicating whether the printer stopped the press to reset portions of type, not whether a reading is "right" or "wrong," and affixing the proper cor or unc label can be tricky in certain instances.  When the status of a given variant is not obvious, we have sought help by comparing other variants on the same forme--thus inclusion of the information on signature and forme noted above.

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