Dr Christopher Ohge

Contact details

Dr Christopher Ohge
PhD, MA, Boston University
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 between English literature and computation (computation as a way of thinking and analysing, in addition to creating formal systems through logical and quantitative means, I should clarify). My academic specialties are textual scholarship and bibliography; 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Director of the Herman Melville Electronic Library and as a core faculty member for the Institute for the Editing of Historical Documents, sponsored by the US National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). Before coming to London I was an editor at the Mark Twain Project at the University of California, Berkeley, and a postdoctoral fellow in digital humanities at the University of Maine.

Spoken Written
German Intermediate Intermediate
Publication Details

Related publications/articles:

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


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 two-part 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.

Access Part 1 here.

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).

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


 Collected in Critical Insights: Billy Budd (Salem Press, 2017).

15-Oct-2015 (As associate editor) Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 3 (University of California Press, 2015, with etext on marktwainproject.org)

Edited Book

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, Scholarly Editing 35 (2014)

Edited Book

Diplomatic transcription of Cranch's 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).


A short article arguing 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, Melville’s Marginalia Online (2012).

Edited Book

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, 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:

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. 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
Hemingway, Masculinity and Animals

An ecoritical study of Hemingway's depiction of animals in relation to his masculine persona.

Available for doctoral supervision: Yes

Professional Affiliations

Professional affiliations:

Name Activity
Melville Society


Name Type Activity Start date End date
Institute for the Editing of Historical Documents Core Faculty Member Research Training 27-Jul-2020
Consultancy & Media
Media experience:
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