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The Poly-Olbion Pilot Project

This project, established by Professors Andrew McRae and Philip Schwyzer, has produced an online version of the first of the thirty songs in Michael Drayton's 15,000-line poem, Poly-Olbion (1612, 1622)‌.

Poly-Olbion, an early modern epic of national description, is comprised of topographical descriptions of the counties of England and Wales, with digressions on national and local traditions, legends and histories. The first eighteen songs were published with annotations (or ‘illustrations’) written by John Selden, one of the greatest legal and historical minds of his age, while all thirty were preceded by uniquely decorative maps executed by William Hole.

This pilot website provides an annotated text of the first song, accompanied by a range of supportive pages and materials. It was developed with funds provided by the University of Exeter Department of English, as an exploratory step towards an application for external funding to support a full scholarly edition of Poly-Olbion. The annotations were written by McRae and Schwyzer, with the assistance of Dan Cattell; the website development was handled by Lee Durbin.

Visit the project website for more information.