Emeritus Professor Peter Ainsworth
Major research project
The AHRC-funded Online Froissart (interactive electronic edition of Jehan Froissart’s 14th-century Chroniques)
www.hrionline.ac.uk/onlinefroissart (v. 1.4, 30/11/12)
This large-scale research resource based on the Middle French Chronicles of Jehan Froissart covers his narratives of the Hundred Years' War (1325-1404) and opens a window onto the social, political and military history of the period. Teams at the Universities of Sheffield and Liverpool have transcribed 113 manuscripts (some completely, others partially); the resource is updated annually.
Over 7 million words of Middle French have been recorded, lemmatised and converted into searchable online glossaries thanks to a British Academy-CNRS project bringing scholars from the Universities of Sheffield, Edinburgh, St Andrews and Plymouth into close partnership with lexicographers and programmers at the Université de Lorraine (Nancy 2) responsible for the Dictionnaire du Moyen Français. Users of the Online Froissart can access complete DMF entries from any lemma in a transcription. In exchange, a large body of our own lexical material has been made freely available to the DMF. Scholars of the early modern French language can find this material on the DMF web site (via ‘glossaires’, and under “FRO”). The material has also been incorporated into the Frantext database.
Collational tools and a specially designed search engine have helped us to uncover new knowledge concerning relationships between key manuscript witnesses of the Chroniques. A better understanding of the overall manuscript tradition and textual evolution of this great work has been reached during the lifetime of the project, and the research continues to date.
A new translation by Keira Borrill into modern English of key chapters from the first three Books of the Chroniques is proving popular with graduate students and medievalist scholars with limited or no Middle French. Background essays provide introductions to the period and to the Chroniques, and more than 200,000 personal and place name have been glossed.
Application of the latest e-Tools for medievalists has yielded a new understanding of palaeographical issues such as palimpsests and scribal ‘fingerprints’. High-resolution facsimiles of up to five manuscript volumes can be compared together on screen using our external Virtual Vellum viewer. Collaborations with historians of the book and manuscript illumination have generated fresh discoveries about the identities and practices of the artists and workshops responsible for the books, and about late medieval booksellers and their methods.
Three international exhibitions (Royal Armouries 2007-08, Musée de l’Armée 2010, and Musée national du Moyen Age-Château de Pau, 2011-12) followed on from the project. Visitor feedback uncovered a vibrant interest in the Middle Ages and the Hundred Years' War on the part of people as young as seven and as old as ninety, kindled by the exhibits, interactive software and narratives (evidence from questionnaires, interviews and Visitors' Books).
A major challenge for the exhibition designers was to devise ways of attracting and engaging with wider, non-academic publics. Working alongside curators and seeing how they reacted to our more academic content and materials was immensely stimulating, as was the process of finding efficient and lively ways to articulate our scholarship to these wider publics.
Online galleries are viewable at:
In July 2013 the Online Froissart became part of MESA, the Medieval Scholarly Alliance:
Related publications by Peter Ainsworth, 2005-present
- Journal articles
- Conference proceedings papers
- Website content
- Scholarly editions
- Dictionary/encyclopaedia entries
- Ainsworth P (2005) Jean Froissart: A sexcentenary reappraisal. French Studies, 59(3), 364-372.
- Ainsworth P (2013) Au-delà des apparences: Jean Froissart et l'affaire de la dame de Carrouges In Blanchard J & Blumenfeld-Kosinski R (Ed.), Le droit et son écriture: la médiatisation du fait judiciaire dans la littérature médiévale (pp. 109-127). Paris: Honoré Champion.
- Ainsworth P (2012) Royalty Reflected in the Chronicles of Froissart In Mitchell L & Melville C (Ed.), Every Inch a King (pp. 215-243). Leiden: BRILL.
- Ainsworth P (2011) Le Fébus de Froissart In Lagabrielle S, Mironneau P & Tesnière M-H (Ed.), Gaston Fébus. Prince soleil 1331-1391 (pp. 44-51). Paris: RMN - Grand Palais.
- Ainsworth P (2011) Collections: Editing, Exhibitions and e-Science Initiatives In Fresco KL & Hedeman AD (Ed.), Collections in Context (pp. 13-29). Columbus Ohio: The Ohio State University Press.
- Ainsworth P (2010) Editing, e-Science and Exhibitions In Dixon R (Ed.), Essays in Later Medieval French Literature (pp. 107-125). Manchester: Manchester University Press.
- Ainsworth P (2010) Les familles royales dans les Chroniques de Jean Froissart: entre textes et images In Raynaud C (Ed.), Familles royales. Vie publique, vie privée aux XIVe et XVe siècles (pp. 19-37). Aix-en-Provence: Publications de l'Université de Provence.
- Ainsworth P (2009) Deux cycles d'illustrations des Chroniques de Froissart comparés, Les Chroniques de Froissart (pp. 46-89). Dijon: Arts et métiers du livre, Faton.
- Ainsworth P (2009) Jean Froissart et la Guerre de Cent Ans In Châtelet A (Ed.), Les Chroniques de Froissart (pp. 2-12). Dijon: Arts et métiers du livre, Faton.
- Ainsworth P (2008) Les représentations de villes dans les manuscrits de Froissart: d'un codex à l'autre In Raynaud C & Provence UD (Ed.), Villes en guerre, XIVe-XVe siècles (pp. 13-42). Aix-en-Provence: Publications de l'Université de Provence.
- Ainsworth P (2008) Technologies nouvelles, manuscrits virtuels. La guerre de Cent Ans à travers les Chroniques de Jean Froissart In Ailes M, Lawrence-Mathers A & Le Saux FHM (Ed.), Medieval Historical Discourses. Essays in Honour of Professor Peter S. Noble (pp. 21-34). Reading: University of Reading.
Conference proceedings papers
- Ainsworth PF & Meredith M (2011) Breaching the Strongroom - A Pervasive Informatics Approach to Working with Medieval Manuscripts.. KMIS (pp 264-271)
- Cauchard JR, Ainsworth PF, Romano DM & Banks B (2006) Virtual manuscripts for an enhanced museum and web experience 'living manuscripts'. INTERACTIVE TECHNOLOGIES AND SOCIOTECHNICAL SYSTEMS, Vol. 4270 (pp 418-427)
- Ainsworth P, Watts K, Renaudeau O & Meredith M (2010, April 2) Cy commencent … Jehan Froissart chroniqueur de la guerre de Cent Ans. Musée national de l'Armée, Hôtel national des Invalides, Paris.
- Ainsworth P, Watts K, Moores G, Meredith M & Dunn C (2007, December 8) The Chronicles of Froissart. Royal Armouries, Leeds.
- Ainsworth P (2011) Digital Attraction: from the real to the virtual in manuscript studies. Retrieved from http://www.forumjournal.org/
- Ainsworth P & Croenen G (2010) The Online Froissart. Retrieved from http://hridigital.shef.ac.uk/hrionline
- Ainsworth P (2009) e-Science for medievalists: options, challenges, solutions and opportunities, in Digital Humanities Quarterly vol 3 number 4, "e-Science for the Arts and Humanities", ed. S. Dunn and T. Blanke. Retrieved from http://adho.org/
- Ainsworth P & Croenen G (2007) Jean Froissart, Chroniques, Livre III. Le Manuscrit Saint-Vincent de Besançon, Edité par Peter F. Ainsworth avec une étude codicologique par Godfried Croenen, Tome I. Editions Droz.