About the Project

Welcome to Cambridge Authors!

This website is produced by the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge. It is the work of students and teaching staff who have given their time freely to share their interest in the subject. We have tried to aim it particularly at people planning to study, or thinking about studying English at University. However, we hope that anyone involved in reading literature (people who are doing it for pleasure as well as those who are doing it because of a syllabus) will find useful and stimulating things here.

It is funded jointly by the Faculty of English and the University's 2009 Fund, which is one part of the celebrations marking the 800th anniversary of its foundation in 1209. You can find out more about this here: http://www.800.cam.ac.uk.

Who are the Cambridge Authors?

The Cambridge Authors all went to the University of Cambridge, but over a 420 year timespan the university they attended changed a great deal. Only four of them studied English Literature: the subject was only introduced in the early twentieth century. They didn't all finish degrees. Several of them were far from happy with the University, or became famous for doing things that modern students are definitely not encouraged to do. In most cases, though, events, people, books, and thoughts that arose from their time at Cambridge came to mean a great deal to them and their work. The most notable omission is probably John Milton, author of Paradise Lost. The 'Darkness Visible' site produced by students of Christ's College (http://www.christs.cam.ac.uk/darknessvisible/) does such a good job that we decided to focus elsewhere.

Who created Cambridge Authors?

This project was put together in 2008 and 2009 by a large team. Two general editors (Raphael Lyne and Andrew Zurcher) appointed ten graduate students to act as editors for the author sections. They devised the resources in collaboration with teams of undergraduate volunteers, who produced the majority of the articles themselves. You can find out more about these contributors on the 'People' page. Some of the resources drew on the expertise of teaching staff, musicians, actors, and others in and around the university. All of these people gave their time for free.

The site has been put together in WordPress in collaboration with the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies (CARET, www.caret.cam.ac.uk). The design is by Black Pig (www.blackpig.co.uk). The original artwork is by Anna Trench.

How to use Cambridge Authors

From the front page you can click on an author portrait and head straight for the relevant resources, including a biographical introduction to each one. On this site you'll find very diverse items: essays and introductions dealing with topics and contexts related to key works sit alongside unique multi-media events. We hope you like what you find.

The interpretations and opinions expressed here are the authors' own. The Faculty of English is proud to present these pieces as examples of the fine work students do, and as pieces of work that might stimulate further thought. However, they don't represent the Faculty's official view on any of these matters. Part of the value of this site, we hope, is to provoke and promote opportunities for reading and thinking; there are many things here to disagree with as well as learn from, and that's the point. There are numerous opportunities within the site to express your opinion, and we're always glad to hear from you by e-mail - cambridgeauthors@english.cam.ac.uk.

We would be delighted to hear from teachers who are thinking of recommending the site to their students, or who are even considering incorporating some element of it in their classes. Please tell us what you think, and how we can make the site more useful. If your students have views on any of the articles, encourage them to submit them. We can always open up the Comments facility if it isn't opened already.

We have made every effort to be responsible in citing sources for the information presented in the various resources. We have tried not to clog things up with too many notes and references, so keep an eye out for some key features. In the text you will find lots of highlighted words. Hover your mouse over these, and you'll either find a definition (if it's a potentially difficult term), further information (if it leads to bigger questions), or a reference (if, for example, it's a fact for which we need to present a source). In addition to these 'tippies' you'll find a list of Works Cited at the end of most articles, providing further references. There is also an important 'Acknowledgments' section on the 'People' page, where other kinds of debt are mentioned. In this section we also acknowledge, where appropriate, the copyright holders of images and text used in the site.

If you are a student using material on the Cambridge Authors site as part of your study, you should adopt best practice when you cite from or adapt ideas from the project. Your readers -- especially your teachers -- will be happy to see the source of your ideas, and your acknowledgment of your debts; as we've tried to show here, one of the pleasures of working on literature is that you are always reading and writing in a community. The best way to cite a Cambridge Authors article is by author, title, project name, and URL: e.g. 'Lizzie Davis, "Marlowe: The Sources of Doctor Faustus", Cambridge Authors, http://www.english.cam.ac.uk/cambridgeauthors/marlowe-sources-of-doctor-faustus'.

Andrew Zurcher
Raphael Lyne

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