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Project 2

This project will engage you in understanding how real-life locations influence writing production and reading. Working independently, you will map Isabella Whitney’s “Her Last Will and Testament” according to historical and contemporary London.


Start by re-reading the poem and highlighting some of the specific references Whitney makes about locations, businesses, and people in London. Think about why they matter, and what kinds of knowledge are required of readings to truly engage with the poem. Once you have a list of potential options for your map, you’ll want to visit some sites like The Map of Early Modern London and British Histories Online, as well as perform independent research on the points you’ve listed. Please keep in mind that some spellings may have changed, so try multiple ones. You will use this information to plot and write-up “points of interest” using Google Maps.

You will also prepare a 3-4 page paper in which you reflect on the mapping assignment. Some questions to consider in your reflection are:

  • Did completing this mapping assignment change how I understand Whitney? If so, how? If not, why not?
  • What did I learn by completing this assignment that I could not have learned simply through reading the poems?
  • What did I learn about the digital humanities in this experience?
  • What was my experience of using Google Maps? What were the challenges and how did I overcome them? What are the benefits and drawbacks to using a mapping software program like this?
  • What would I change about this assignment to make it more relevant, informative, enjoyable, challenging, or interesting?


If you’ve never used Google Maps, be sure to watch the video walk-through.

Your map must include 3-4 “points of interest.”* Each point of interest should be marked by relevant quotations from the text, including page numbers for reference. A point of interest could include (but is not limited to):

  • an exact location given in the poem
  • pictures of an exact or approximate location
  • pictures of historical figures mentioned in the text at that exact or approximate location
  • links to relevant audio files, video, or other websites relevant to an exact or approximate location or a particular portion of text

Each one of your points must include:

  1. Brief summary of the location (what is it? where is it? what did people do there? is it still extant?)
  2. Explanation of the significance of the location for Whitney (direct quote + analysis)
  3. (optional/bonus) Links to the relevant entry on MOEML

Maps and presentations will be evaluated on how well they meet the objectives outlined above, as well as clarity, creativity, organization, attention to detail, and design. We will go over how to use Google Maps in class, but you’re encouraged to attend office hours to clarify specific troubleshooting issues.

*Maps must be made public and posted on our course site (see video walk-throughs and this page on embedding maps)

Grading (Project Presentation and Reflection due October 30)

  • Points of Interest: 120 points
    • Adequate map design, including appropriate placement of location markers: 20 points
    • Historical context for location: 50 points
    • Analysis of Whitney’s poem in relation to location: 50 points
  • Reflection: 80 points

 Some Models to Inspire You:


  1. Wow ! This seems like it is going to be a very interesting project. It reminds me of a project that I am currently doing in my other English class where we are creating a historical map of Harlem for a text were reading. The only difference is that we have to go there now and compare how a jazz club in 1920 is now a Geico. I am looking forward to this project, it is very clear I do not have any questions.

  2. And here I thought Voyant was fascinating… it seems we were only tipping our toes into the pool of the possibilities and tools of digital humanities. I have three questions:
    1. Is Whitney’s “Her Last Will and Testament” the last poem in the collection we have on file?
    2. How can we make personalized icons like the icons on the Sherlock Holmes map?
    3. When is the reflection due?

    • Tuka,
      1) Yes! I am handing another copy today in class
      2) To an extent–there are some preloaded ones on Google (under “style”). They’re not amazing but certainly help distinguish your work
      3) The reflection is due on the same day as the presentation (I’ll clarify in the prompt)

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