Document Type


Passed with distinction


Publication Date

Spring 4-17-2015


The increased accessibility of nineteenth-century newspapers and magazines in online archives represents an opportunity for new literary discoveries. Many nineteenth-century writers, including the poet Walt Whitman, made contributions to periodicals. In the 1840s, well before the publication of the first edition of Whitman’s poetry volume Leaves of Grass (1855), he authored a novel and several short stories that first appeared in periodicals, ranging from literary journals to popular newspapers. Since 2010, I have discovered 324 previously unknown printings or reprints of Whitman’s fiction in periodicals. Based in part on my research, The Walt Whitman Archive’s NEH-funded Pre-Leaves of Grass Fiction Project (co-edited with Nicole Gray), constitutes the first scholarly edition of the original printings of Whitman’s fiction and the first collected edition of his fiction since 1963. This poster documents the creation of this online scholarly edition by examining the process of text encoding or the making of a machine readable version of the fiction in Extensible Markup Language (XML) using the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) guidelines. Taking Whitman’s “The Tomb-Blossoms” as a case study, this poster reveals the commonly used markup tags for and the unique challenges of encoding fiction printed in nineteenth-century periodicals. As a result, the Pre-Leaves of Grass Fiction Project stands as a model for digital projects that require the encoding of selections from historical periodicals. It also serves as a starting point for a future digital archive that will document the publication history of Whitman’s fiction and explore the national and international circulation of his stories.


Walt Whitman, Walt Whitman's Fiction, The Walt Whitman Archive, Digital Scholarly Editions, Digital Scholarly Editing, Whitman's Pre-Leaves of Grass Fiction


Copyright © 2015 Stephanie M. Blalock.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.