Recovering from collective memory loss: The digital mitford’s feminist project

Elisa Beshero-Bondar, Elizabeth Raisanen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This article considers the impact of the digital turn on feminist efforts to restore value to women’s literature of past centuries, and positions the Digital Mitford project as a next step in site specific excavation following the large-scale surveys of women writers of the Orlando Project and the Women Writers Project. The Digital Mitford departs from these earlier projects by concentrating on an influential and prolific yet non-canonical woman writer who would otherwise garner only passing selective treatment in digital survey work. The very problem of Mary Russell Mitford’s literary success over multiple decades and genres has led to a faulty collective memory of her that is fragmented along Romantic vs. Victorian period boundaries in literary studies. To redress this memory loss, the Digital Mitford team has initiated a network analysis study drawn from its TEI XML markup to call attention to the literary and historical figures together with the publications Mitford wrote about frequently in the same paragraphs. The article features a view of Mitford’s literary and social network centered on her references to her canonical contemporary Jane Austen, to demonstrate how the excavation of a single woman writer may help to open new areas of research to literary historians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)738-750
Number of pages13
JournalWomen's History Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 3 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • History


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