Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a need for new practices of asynchronous reading that generate community. For the University of Washington's Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Research Cluster's 150th Anniversary Middlemarch Symposium, we created a digital edition of Middlemarch through Manifold, a digital humanities tool for e-editions, designed to encourage a practice we call “coreading.” By using digital annotation tools to build open communities of inquiry and crowd-sourced forms of knowledge, this practice decenters traditional forms of scholarship. Coreading allows us to explore the attachments that we form with literature—the affective, the personal and interpersonal, and the intellectual. In our explication of the Manifold Middlemarch project, we discuss the successes and setbacks of this collaborative community engagement, considering the question of what community and collaboration look like under pandemic circumstances, how digital humanities 2.0 projects can help us respond, and how coreading works as a solution for connection in unconnected times.

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