About the Project

The Grub Street Project was established in 2005 by Allison Muri. At that time digital publishing was still seen very much as a new "Grub Street," and all too often critiqued as a specious and ephemeral form. The name was also inspired in no small part by Pat Rogers' Grub Street: Studies in a Subculture first published in 1972. The goal of the project is to visualize the literary and cultural history of London. This includes mapping the city's print trades and other trades, its imagined literary representations, and its real histories. Mapping such locations and events centuries later, however, presents no small challenge. In 1704 Jonathan Swift complained of the seemingly ephemeral literary productions in London where vast numbers of written works were "hurried so hastily off the scene, that they escape our memory, and delude our sight" like a topography of ever-changing clouds. Today, the obstacles to posterity that Swift condemned resurface in any attempt to study the relationships between 18th-century printed materials, texts, authors, printers, booksellers, publishers, and readers. For example, while we might be able to determine where a book was printed or "to be sold," patterns of production, selling, buying, and reading are harder to see. Moreover, the ephemeral nature of London's topography itself presents difficulties for the researcher. Mapping booksellers and printers continues to be a work in progress. The notorious Grub Street is no more, and traces of the printers' premises there exist today only as vague addresses such as "neere the lower pumpe" or "neer Cripple-Gate." High-resolution "zoomable" maps from 18th-century prints associated with a database of bibliographical and topographical data, trades indexes, and literary texts afford new possibilities for not only seeing the relationships between people, trades, book production, and dissemination of ideas, but also for seeing the topographies of creative imagination.

Allison Muri, University of Saskatchewan: Designer, Director, and Editor, 2005–present

Editorial Board

Frans de Bruyn, University of Ottawa
Nicholas Hudson, University of British Columbia
Thomas Keymer, University of Toronto
Laura Mandell, Texas A&M University
Donald W. Nichol, Memorial University of Newfoundland
David Oakleaf, University of Calgary
Carol Percy, University of Toronto
Pam Perkins, University of Manitoba
Paul F. Rice, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Leslie Ritchie, Queen's University
Pat Rogers, University of South Florida
Laura Runge, University of South Florida
Peter Sabor, McGill University

Student Contributions

Heather Torvi (MA, English), 2019– : research project: Revealing the Effects of Fake News in the 18th Century: Henry Fielding’s Critique of the Newspaper Trade in The Coffee-House Politician; Research Assistant, 2019–

Banjo Olaleye (PhD, English), 2016– : research project: Ignatius Sancho's London: A Social Reading of Space and Identity in Eighteenth Century London; Research Assistant, 2017–

Rodrigo Yanez (PhD, English), 2015– : research project: Place and autobiographical self-fashioning: literary geography and digital mapping in James Boswell's London Journal 1762–1763; Research Assistant, 2017–

James Yeku (PhD, English), 2014, 2017: Research Assistant

Benjamin Neudorf (BA / MA, English), 2011–14: research, usability testing, co-editor of The London Spy

Catherine Nygren (BA / MA, English), 2010–13: research, usability testing, co-editor of The Dunciad Variorum

Mike Sheinin (BA, Computer Science), 2012: programming, usability testing

Justin Gowen (BA, Computer Science), 2011: programming

Jordan Rudek (MA, English), 2011: Ned Ward research

Edison del Canto (PhD, Interdisciplinary Studies), 2010: conceptual design, The Four Kings of Canada

Meshon Cantrill (MA, English), 2008: research and development of a concept for "The London Game"

Holly Luhning (PhD, English), 2005: data entry, Eliza Haywood research

Jon Bath (PhD, English), 2005: prototyping, TEI markup


Xiaohan Zhang, Web App Developer, 2012–2015


Publications related to the project

Muri, Allison, Catherine Nygren, and Benjamin Neudorf. “The Grub Street Project: A Digital Social Edition of London in the Long 18th Century.” Digital Scholarship in the Humanities (March 2016).

Muri, Allison. “Beyond GIS: On Mapping Early Modern Narratives and the Chronotope.” Digital Studies / Le champ numérique 6 (2015-2016) Beyond Accessibility: Textual Studies in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Brent Nelson and Richard Cunningham.

Salt, Joel, Ronald Cooley, and Allison Muri. "Electronic Scholarly Editing in the University Classroom: an Approach to Project-based Learning." Digital Studies / Le champ numérique 3.1 (2012).

Muri, Allison. “Graphs, Maps, and Digital Topographies: Visualizing The Dunciad as Heterotopia.” Lumen 30 (2011): 79-98.

Muri, Allison. “Digital Natives or Digital Strangers? Teaching the Eighteenth Century Online, from Ctrl-F to Digital Editions.” Digital Defoe: Studies in Defoe & His Contemporaries 2.1 (Fall 2010).

Muri, Allison. “The Grub Street Project: Imagining Futures in Scholarly Editing.” In Online Humanities Scholarship: The Shape of Things to Come. Ed. Jerome McGann, with Andrew Stauffer, Dana Wheeles, and Michael Pickard (Houston, TX: Rice University Press, 2010), 25-58.

Muri, Allison. “The Technology and Future of the Book: What a Digital ‘Grub Street’ Can Tell us About Communications, Commerce, and Creativity.” In Producing the Eighteenth-Century Book: Writers and Publishers in England, 1650–1800. Ed. Laura Runge and Pat Rogers. University of Delaware Press, 2009. 235-50.