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UVA Press Publishes Brown Library's Digital Publications Initiative's First Born-Digital Scholarly Monograph

The pathbreaking multimodal digital book—Furnace and Fugue—was developed with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

July 2020: Charlottesville, VA—The University of Virginia Press is pleased to announce the publication of Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary, the first born-digital scholarly monograph developed by the Center for Digital Scholarship at Brown University. Published by UVA Press as part of the distinguished academic series Studies in Early Modern German History and under Brown University’s Digital Publications Initiative, Furnace and Fugue re-renders Michael Maier’s seventeenth-century multimedia masterpiece as an enhanced and interactive digital scholarly work that allows contemporary readers to hear, see, manipulate, and investigate Atalanta fugiens in ways that were perhaps imagined when it was composed but were simply impossible to realize in full before now.

Edited by Professor of History Tara Nummedal and Independent Scholar Donna Bilak, Furnace and Fugue brings Maier’s alchemical emblem book to life in digital form. This intriguing and complex text reinterprets Ovid’s legend of Atalanta as an alchemical allegory in a series of fifty emblems, each of which contains text, image, and a musical score for three voices. “We saw an opportunity to bring Maier’s 1618 vision to life in a completely novel way,” said Tara Nummedal. “The interactive digital format allows us to reach multiple audiences at once: not only fellow scholars and students, but also singers, practicing alchemists, and visual artists.”

Brown is at the vanguard of digital monograph publishing, facilitating the creation and validation of new scholarly forms that demonstrate a range of ways in which the digital environment is necessary for articulating and advancing scholarly argument beyond the capabilities of print. “Furnace and Fugue is a wonderful example of Brown’s Mellon-supported Digital Publications Initiative, which attempts to develop technically diverse and innovative digital publications demonstrating the unique opportunities of digital platforms,” said Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin, co-principal investigator for the Initiative. “We are delighted to be able to support the outstanding scholarship of Brown faculty by leveraging this opportunity.” With oversight from Digital Scholarship Editor Allison Levy and drawing upon the expertise of the Center for Digital Scholarship, faculty selected for this opportunity are enabled to develop their scholarship in ways that take advantage of emerging digital methods and formats. These pathbreaking scholarly works are then submitted to leading university presses that have corresponding academic interests and the infrastructure for peer review and digital publication. The development of Furnace and Fugue through Brown University’s Digital Publications Initiative was supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Social Science Research Institute at Brown University.

UVA Press is publishing Furnace and Fugue on an open access basis, making it available immediately, for free, to anyone. “We are delighted to collaborate with Brown University in bringing out this cutting-edge digital publication. Furnace and Fugue presents the best in innovative and creative publishing, combining rigorously reviewed and edited scholarship with a multi-sensory presentation of Maier’s seventeenth-century music and text,” said Nadine Zimmerli, Editor of History and Social Sciences at the Press. “We hope that this digital monograph will inspire and enrich all readers and listeners.”

UVA Press will host a virtual book launch for Furnace and Fugue on August 25 at 1:00 pm EST. 

About the University of Virginia Press
The University of Virginia Press is the scholarly publishing division of the University of Virginia. The Press supports the academic mission of the University by publishing scholarship in a variety of print and digital formats that broadens knowledge and research capability but also creates public dialogue about place and possibility. Founded in 1963, the Press publishes more than 70 new titles annually. It is a leading publisher in American history and politics, literature, religion, architecture and design, general interest books about cities, states, and regions throughout United States and the world, as well as an emerging business imprint in partnership with the Darden School of Business.

For more information about UVA Press, please contact Emily Grandstaff at 434-982-2932 or egrandstaff@virginia.edu.