Dr Christopher Ohge

Contact details

Dr Christopher Ohge
MA, PhD, Boston University
Senior Lecturer in Digital Approaches to Literature
Institute of English Studies
Senate House, Room 242
Email address:

Research Summary and Profile

Research interests:
Digital resources, Digitisation, English Literature, History of the book, Manuscript studies, Modernism, Palaeography, Philosophy, Romanticism
England, North America, United Kingdom
Summary of research interests and expertise:

I work at the intersection of English literature and computation (computation as a way of thinking and analysing, in addition to creating formal systems through logical and quantitative means). My academic specialties are textual scholarship and book history; nineteenth and twentieth century literature, with a particular focus on romanticism, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, antislavery archives and print culture, and modernist authors; digital publishing (XML technologies and other markup languages); data science and corpus analysis approaches to literature, particularly with the R programming language. I also like to experiment with new methods which I am still learning, such as machine learning, network analysis, graph databases and technologies, spatial networks, and digital curation.

In addition to my current role, I serve as Associate Director of the Herman Melville Electronic Library, an Associate Editor for Melville's Marginalia Online, and as a core faculty member for eLaboratories, based at the University of Virginia Center for Digital Editing, which will soon debut its Fundamentals online course in the Editing of Historical Documents. Before coming to London I was an Associate Editor at the Mark Twain Papers & Project at the University of California, Berkeley, and held postdoctoral fellowships at Boston University and the University of Maine.

Spoken Written
French Good Good
German Intermediate Intermediate
Publication Details

Related publications/articles:

Date Details
04-Sep-2023 Hypertext as Method: Reflections on Hypertext as Design Logic

Conference papers

With Alessio Antonini, Megan Bushnell, Francesca Benatti, Alessandro Adamou, and Sam Brooker. HT '23: Proceedings of the 34th ACM Conference on Hypertext and Social Media, Article No. 45 (September 2023), pp. 1–4.

01-Sep-2023 Re-experiencing composition: meditations on digital scholarly editing at the “Melville Electronic Library”


Special issue of Sztuka Edycji. Textological and Editorial Studies on 'Digital Editing Practices', vol. 23, no. 1 (2023), pp. 15–27. 

25-Aug-2023 Digital Melville and Computational Methods in Literary Studies


Mischke, Dennis and Christopher Ohge. "Digital Melville and Computational Methods in Literary Studies." Leviathan, vol. 25 no. 2, 2023, p. 35-60. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/lvn.2023.a904374.

10-Jul-2023 A Digital Humanities Climate Coalition Toolkit for Researchers and Institutions

Research aids

(With James Baker, Lisa Otty, and Jo Lindsey Walton.)

In digital humanists, every project we create, every software application we use, every piece of hardware we purchase impacts our environment. In response to this need for greater awareness, the Digital Humanities Climate Coalition (DHCC) created a Toolkit (https://sas-dhrh.github.io/dhcc-toolkit/) using minimal computing principles.

01-Jul-2023 eLaboraties Fundamentals of Editing

Research aids

The eLaboraties Fundamentals of Editing online course is a 14-unit series of standalone (and free) modules that prepares you to plan, create, manage, and publish a scholarly edition in print and/or digital formats.

03-Apr-2023 Review of Along Came Google: A History of Library Digitization, by Deanna Marcum and Roger C. Schonfeld


Library & Information History, Volume 39 Issue 1, pp. 63-65, ISSN 1758-3489 (Apr 2023).

09-Sep-2022 Provocations Toward Creative-Critical Editing

Journal articles

Special issue, co-edited with Mathelinda Nabugodi, of Textual Cultures 15.1 (Spring 2022).

This special issue examines the promises of creative-critical editing. It has three sections: Questions and Experiments, Creative-Critical Case Studies, and The Aesthetic Experiences of Digital Editions.

02-Sep-2022 A New Companion to Herman Melville

Edited Book

(Wiley-Blackwell, 2022.)

This new companion to Melville, co-edited with Wyn Kelley (MIT), features 47 original chapters, including new critical perspectives on all of Melville's works, and sections on book history, environmental approaches, digital humanities, and public engagement.

02-Sep-2022 Digital Melville: Computation and Dead-Reckoning


In A New Companion to Herman Melville, ed. Kelley and Ohge (2022).

19-Mar-2022 Poetry and Diffidence: A Brief History

Journal articles

Essays in Criticism 71.4 (October 2021), https://doi.org/10.1093/escrit/cgab020.

An essay that examines the trajectory of the word 'diffidence'––and its various senses––in poetry. It argues that this concept illustrates a tension between outer and inner posturing of pride and shame, trust and doubt, respect and respectability.

05-Nov-2021 Publishing Scholarly Editions: Archives, Computing, and Experience


(Cambridge University Press, 2021). https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108766739.

Abstract: Publishing Scholarly Editions offers new intellectual tools for publishing digital editions that bring readers closer to the experimental practices of literature, editing, and reading. After the Introduction (Section 1), Sections 2 and 3 frame intentionality and data analysis as intersubjective, interrelated, and illustrative of experience-as-experimentation. These ideas are explored through two editorial exhibitions of nineteenth-century works: Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor, and the anti-slavery anthology The Bow in the Cloud, edited by Mary Anne Rawson. Section 4 uses pragmatism to rethink editorial principles and data modelling, arguing for a broader conception of the edition rooted in data collections and multimedia experience. The Conclusion (Section 5) draws attention to the challenges of publishing digital editions, and why digital editions have failed to be supported by the publishing industry. If publications are conceived as pragmatic ‘inventions’ based on reliable, open-access data collections, then editing can embrace the critical, aesthetic, and experimental affordances of editions of experience.

Access the figures at 


13-Nov-2020 'It was a Mistake': Abolitionism, Revision, and Mark Twain's 'A Scrap of Curious History'

Journal articles

Mark Twain Annual 18 (2020). https://doi.org/10.5325/marktwaij.18.1.0065

An essay that examines the surviving manuscript of Mark Twain's “A Scrap of Curious History,” an unfinished attempt to write fiction about abolitionist activity in antebellum Missouri that was initiated not by memory but by his witnessing a backlash to anarchist uprisings in France in 1894.

24-Aug-2020 Encoding and Analysis, and Encoding as Analysis, in Textual Editing


Co-authored with Charlotte Tupman. In the Routledge International Handbook of Research Methods in Digital Humanities, edited by Stuart Dunn and Kristen Schuster (Taylor & Francis).

15-Nov-2019 Melville's Historical Imagination in 'The House-top'


Collected in "This Mighty Convulsion": Melville and Whitman Write the Civil War, ed. Christopher Sten and Tyler Hoffman (University of Iowa Press).

An essay that examines Melville's doubleness in his Civil War poem, "The House-top"––which shows an ingenious combination of literary allusion, historical source study, and prosody.  

24-Apr-2019 The Making of an Anti-Slavery Anthology: Mary-Anne Rawson and The Bow in the Cloud


This online article examines the unexplored textual history and social network surrounding The Bow in the Cloud, an anti-slavery anthology published in 1834 in Great Britain.

25-Feb-2019 Review of American Literature and the New Puritan Studies


The Library: Transactions of the Bibliographic Society 7.20.1 (March 2019).

15-Feb-2019 Melville Incomplete

Journal articles

American Literary History 31.1 (Spring 2019).

**Winner of the 2020/21 Boydston Essay Prize**

This essay considers the difficult choices editors must now make in the era of digital editions by examining the final Northwestern Newberry edition of Melville's Billy Budd and Other Uncompleted Works.

07-Jan-2019 Billy Budd, Sailor: A Fluid-Text Edition

Edited Book

The first digital edition of Melville's final, uncompleted novella contains various edited units that give the reader unprecedented access to the Billy Budd manuscript. On view are MEL’s edition, with its textual, contextual, and revision annotations, links to collations of MEL’s base version and reading text and projected collations of the 20th-century versions of Billy Budd, and a display of all leaf images of the Billy Budd manuscript.

01-Jun-2018 At the Axis of Reality: Melville's Marginalia in The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare

Journal articles

Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 20.2 (June 2018).

An examination (co-written with Steven Olsen-Smith and Elisa Barney Smith) of Herman Melville's marginalia in his 7-volume set of Shakespeare using digital techniques.

01-Jun-2018 Computation and Digital Text Analysis at Melville's Marginalia Online

Journal articles

Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 20.2 (June 2018).

An introduction (co-written with Steven Olsen-Smith) to a special issue of Leviathan that I guest-edited on using digital text analysis techniques to study marginalia. In addition to co-writing a lengthy article on Melville's marginalia in Shakespeare, I also edited articles on––and wrote R and XSLT code for––Melville's marginalia in Chapman's Homer and Milton.

31-Aug-2017 Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884

Edited Book

Scholarly Editing 38 (2017).

A digital edition and network analysis (co-edited with Leslie Myrick) of April Fools letters written to Mark Twain as part of a hoax perpetrated by the novelist George Washington Cable in 1884.

31-Jul-2017 Melville’s Late Readings and the Revisions in the Billy Budd Manuscript


In Critical Insights: Billy Budd, edited by Brian Yothers (Salem Press, 2017).

15-Oct-2015 Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 3

Edited Book

(As associate editor). University of California Press, 2015 (with etext on marktwainproject.org).

01-May-2014 ‘Lest we get too transcendental’: Christopher Pearse Cranch’s Changes of Mind in ‘Journal. 1839’


Scholarly Editing 35 (2014).

A critical introduction to the electronic edition of the Transcendentalist poet and artist Christopher Cranch's 1839 Journal.

01-May-2014 'Journal. 1839', by Christopher Pearse Cranch

Edited Book

Scholarly Editing 35 (2014).

This is born-digital edition consists of a diplomatic transcription of Cranch's important travel journal (with manuscript images), which also includes draft caricatures of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

01-Mar-2014 The Authorship of the ‘F—’ Story, Re-examined


Notes & Queries 61.1 (March 2014).

This short article argues for the linguistic parallels between the anonymous "F--" story and Samuel Beckett's early published prose.

01-Jan-2012 Melville’s Marginalia in Schopenhauer’s Studies in Pessimism

Edited Book

Melville’s Marginalia Online, edited by Steven Olsen-Smith, Peter Norberg, and Dennis Marnon (launched 2012).

Introduction: <http://melvillesmarginalia.org/intro.aspx?id=42>

Edited book: <http://melvillesmarginalia.org/PreviewMode.aspx?DocumentID=42>


01-Oct-2008 A Transcription of Melville’s Marginalia in Christopher Marlowe’s Works and Selections from Charles Lamb’s Specimens of English Dramatic Poets who Lived about the Time of Shakspeare


Co-authored with Steven Olsen-Smith and Dennis C. Marnon. Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 10.3 (October 2008, special issue).

Research Projects & Supervisions

Research projects:


Mary Anne Rawson’s The Bow in the Cloud and The Network of Anti-Slavery in Britain Institute of English Studies
Project period: 01-Mar-2018 - 30-May-2018

Research interests: History of the book

Herman Melville Electronic Library

I have been contributing to this project since 2010, and in 2019 was named the Associate Director. Having recently released the digital fluid text edition of Billy Budd, Sailor, I am starting to work on the Melville family correspondence project.

Mary Anne Rawson’s The Bow in the Cloud and The Networks of Anti-Slavery Print Culture in Britain

This digital archive project started in 2018 with a John Rylands Research Institute Digital Humanities Project Start-up Grant, and is now being supported by a 2023 NEH-Mellon Fellowship for Digital Publication. The project reveals hitherto unknown details about the publication of the 1834 antislavery anthology The Bow in the Cloud, and examines its impact on other antislavery publications until 1865, including the last campaign by the Manchester Union and Emancipation Society.

Melville's Marginalia Online

Serving as an associate editor, I am working with a group of interns to encode and publish searchable editions of Melville's seven volumes of books by the German pessimist philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.

Current PhD topics supervised:

Dates Details
From: 04-Oct-2021
Researching perspectives and methods to develop a more sustainable and accessible Catalogue Raisonné

The research explores the following: Catalogue Raisonné History, Historical Publishing, Digital Catalogue Raisonné Database Platforms, Interface Design (UI UX), Database Approaches, Object-Oriented Programming, Users Perspectives, Archival Studies, Primary Source Material, Interviews, Accessibility, Open Access, Metadata (Marc standards, AACR2, RDA, SCIPIO, LCSH/LC), Finding Tools, Preservation, Copyright, Creative Common, Sustainable Strategies, Affiliations, Qualitative Case Study with the Ted Stamm Catalogue Raisonné and a Quantitative sample data research survey.

From: 01-Sep-2021
Implicit Histories: Decoding the 1921 Archive

A LAHP-funded Collaboratice Doctoral Award, in partnership with findmypast.com, examining taboo in the 1921 census. 

Historians have long sought to recover marginalized voices and experiences, and the popularity of genealogical websites such as Findmypast (FMP) demonstrates the public appetite for understanding these histories better. This studentship is framed around the centenary release of the 1921 census, which FMP is digitising in partnership with the National Archives for a major public launch in January 2022, the largest release of UK census data in a generation. FMP, which partners with more than 400 archives, has identified a public need around the interpretation of ambiguous historical language conventions, especially euphemism, in the official records. Newspapers and other contemporary contexts help supplement socially coded phrases used to conceal experiences once considered ‘taboo.’ The student will have an unequalled opportunity to access back-end datasets at FMP from October 2021 and will work with literary historians and data scientists to reduce the opacity in textual archives, deciphering the conventions and euphemisms of previous generations to make them easy to understand for anyone researching today. The project will identify patterns such as coded phrases used in different records, and repeated patterns in census and other connected data, that once uncovered will help reveal unwritten histories buried in the archives.

From: 01-Sep-2020
The Early Reception of Ernest Hemingway, (1925-35): Masculinity, Nationality, and the Construction of an Icon

“The Early Reception of Ernest Hemingway, (1925-35): Masculinity, Nationality, and the Construction of an Icon” seeks to show how, when, and why the received wisdoms of Hemingway's 'Americanness' came to existence. The thesis challenges the established, undisputed notion of Hemingway primarily writing as an American-abroad by foregrounding the multi-cultural elements in Hemingway’s prose and his in-depth international cultural encounters that the reception has overlooked up until this point. By exploring Hemingway’s reception, then, another story emerges that precedes Ernest Hemingway and speaks to a wider twentieth-century American phenomenon: the issue of the construction of American identity, its legitimacy, and its defining characteristics that according to critics manifest themselves in Hemingway’s prose.

Available for doctoral supervision: Yes

Professional Affiliations

Professional affiliations:

Name Activity
Melville Society


Name Type Activity Start date End date
eLaboratories, Center for Digital Editing, University of Virginia Core Faculty Member and Board Member Research Training, Digital Pedagogy 27-Jul-2020
Mapping Humanities in the UK Board member 01-Aug-2022 01-Nov-2023
Consultancy & Media
Media experience:
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