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Jane Austen’s Desk

A new NEH grant will support UNC scholars' creation of an immersive web environment designed to bring Jane room — and her world — to life. An illustration of Jane Austen's writing room for the project “Jane Austen's Desk,” which is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Imagine getting to know Jane Austen better by entering a virtual room modeled after Chawton Cottage, where the beloved author did most of her writing. Scroll around and click on various objects — paintings, a portable writing desk, a quill, and more — to delve deeper into her writing and her world. Principal investigator Inger Brodey and project manager Sarah Schaefer Walton were both inspired by the idea of the old J.K. Rowling website (before the advent of “Pottermore”) in envisioning the digital humanities project “Jane Austen's Desk.” Brodey is an associate professor of English and comparative literature, and Walton is a Ph.D. candidate in that department. Closeup of a desk chair in Jane Austen's writing room. “We loved how you could mouse over, see magic happening and interact with the objects,” said Brodey, whose faculty website features her own virtual desk. “It's going to feel like a 360-degree view of the room: you can go left and right, up and down, and hover over various objects. For instance, clicking on a painting of a ship will make the ship rock and the waves splash, and it may take you to maps showing the travels of Jane Austen's […]

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