Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The good folks at St Paul's Cathedral have made a link from their website to ours, in a kind and generous gesture connecting the cathedral's present to our simulation of its past.
The cathedral's website is here, and their link to our project is here.
The Cathedral describes us as "an exciting development in reconstructing the medieval Paul's Cross and the north-east Churchyard" and notes that the VPCP "reconstructs a sermon of 1622 in the speech of the time, with crowd noises."
Many thanks to the St Paul's staff for recognizing our work, and to our colleague John Schofield for helping to make this possible.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
We are developing a new website for publication of the /virtual Paul's Cross Project.
Above is the latest version of our model of St Paul's Cathedral and Paul's Churchyard.
A day in early November is likely to be a cloudy, chilly day in London.
The sun at noon was only 20 degrees above the horizon (sharp-eyed folks will note that we are still working on getting the angle of sunlight correct in this image).
There is only about a 15"% chance it was sunny, and the temperature between 10:00 am and noon ranged (on average) between 43 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a high probability of rain.
Because of the chill, the chimneys in the buildings surrounding Paul's Churchyard would most likely have fires in their fireplaces, hence the smoke in this image.
Students of Donne's sermons know that Donne's sermon for November 5th, 1622 was not delivered at Paul's Cross -- although it is a 2-hour sermon -- but in the cathedral, "because of the weather."
So presumably it was rainy, in fact as well as in probability.
We have chosen this sermon to place at the center of the Virtual Paul's Cross Project because it survives in a manuscript prepared within days of the actual delivery of the sermon, and exhibits corrections in Donne's own handwriting.
It is therefore the closest of all texts of Donne's sermons to what he actually said from the pulpit.
We have also chosen it because it wasn't actually preached at Paul's Cross, although it should have been.
Part of the point here is that this project is about creating a way of identifying and assessing our assumptions about early modern preaching. It is not about time travel.
We are not recreating an event that happened, but imagining as fully as possible what this event would have been like had it acutally occurred.
Another way of putting it is to say that Donne's sermon for Gunpowder Day in 1622 is here being heard in Paul's Churchyard after a delay of 390 years.