What we do:
The WordWeb/IDEM
Database

The Project

WordWeb/IDEM will map intertextuality in early modern drama by linking thousands of extracts from English Renaissance plays which share popular "lexias" such as phrases, names or plot elements. "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse", for example, was quoted or parodied at least ten times after Richard III was first performed. Other favourites are "a sea of troubles", the idea that Nero killed his mother or the Elizabethan bed trick.
Users will be able to search and browse this corpus for authors, plays, quoted phrases and additional information such as date or genre.


            "WordWeb" refers to the fact that our software links texts, names, phrases and ideas.
            "IDEM" stands for Intertextuality in Drama of the Early Modern Period.
            The Latin word "idem" means "the same" and indicates our interest in verbal items that are the same in different texts.



reviving results of historical scholarship

We have consulted hundreds of scholarly publications which point out intertextual quotations, sources and popular phrases or motifs in early modern plays. Our oldest source dates from 1751.

sorting and linking the complex data

Thousands of extracts from 16th- and 17th-century texts will be available for fulltext searching as well as for browsing by author, title and quoted phrase ("lexias") and additional information such as date or genre.

contextualizing them with electronic searches

The results of philological scholarship are complemented by electronic searches in fulltext databases such as LION or EEBO.


making data available and accessible

Search results will be made available as text, exportable as excel sheets and visualized with a range of graph-based tools.

The Team

We work at the DHLab and the Department of English of the University of Basel.

Sister projects

In addition to our own ongoing research, the WordWeb corpus is based on past philological studies and profits from the exchange with ongoing projects such as the following:

DEx - Digital Extracts
WWP – Women Writers Project
Theatre in Saint Domingue
DEEP – Database of Early Modern Playbooks
HyperHamlet