In His Own Words

Filed under: Site News; in the year 2011, on the 14th day of November at 7:11 pm

One of the advantages of the new site is that I now effectively have all McGonagall’s published works in a database. Leveraging that with the skills acquired in my day job, means I’ve been able to do a little statistical analysis. Add in some help from the rather brilliant Tagxedo and I’ve been able to produce some art too:

This image was created by counting all the words used in all the gems on this site, discarding words like “the” and “a”, and displaying the next 600 most popular words in proportion to how often they appear. Thus the most commonly used words are “beautiful”, “hearts”, “days” and “british” all the way down to “end”, “fro”, “led” and “sin”. Personally, I think it’s rather touching that the so-called disaster poet’s favourite word was “beautiful” rather than anything more bloodthirsty.

If you like this image, you can buy it on a T-shirt in the McGonagalia shop.

Five “New” Gems

Filed under: Site News; in the year 2011, on the 3rd day of November at 12:45 pm

I’ve just acquired a copy of McGonagall and Tommy Atkins, a book published in the early seventies that focuses on his military works.

The author, David Phillips, had just completed his biography of McGonagall – No Poet’s Corner at the Abbey – and had obviously spent time browsing through Dundee Library’s collection of original manuscripts and broadsheets, because five previously unpublished poems appeared in the book. I’ve now transcribed them onto the site.

So, for the first time in nearly forty years, feast your eyes on…

Dates and Stats

Filed under: Site News; in the year 2011, on the 25th day of October at 11:23 am

I’ve added two new features to the site today.

The first is a listing of all the poems on the site by date of composition. This is something I’ve wanted to have for ages, but is only possible through the scholarship of Norman Watson in his book Poet McGonagall. His list of 270 McGonagall poems by date has allowed me to add this feature, as well as identifying plenty of “new” gems for me to track down and add to the site!

The second feature is a page of statistical analysis of McGonagall’s output. At the moment it’s a pretty simplistic charting of subject and composition dates, but I’m open to suggestions on other analyses that could be performed.

Welcome, Thrice Welcome

Filed under: Site News; in the year 2011, on the 18th day of October at 2:30 pm

’Twas in the year 2011, and of October the 18th Day,
That the appearance of McGonagall Online was changed in a dramatic way…

Today is an important one in the history of McGonagall Online – after two months of development, a complete redesign of the site has gone live. The new look makes use of a lot of 21st century features, whilst retaining a resolutely 19th century appearance.

The site now sits on a heavily customised install of WordPress, which allows me to include this blog, commenting on individual pages & poems, more sophisticated linking between pages and many other features.

I hope you’ll like the new look. It’s intended to have the impression of an upmarket Victorian book, and uses many design elements drawn from a genuine typefounder’s catalogue published in 1897. The marbled background is a heavily transformed section of this image.

Most of the page addresses have changed as a result of this redesign. If you had any links and/or bookmarks pointing to pages on the old site, they should continue to work as they get redirected to the equivalent page of the new site. Please let me know if this doesn’t happen for you.

The only element of the old site that has been broken is the “Gem of the Day” mailing list. If you signed up in the past to get each day’s gem emailed to you, you’ll need to register as a user of the new site to continue to get them sent to you. Once you’ve got a user account, you can log in to your profile to adjust the frequency of deliveries. Logging on as a user also makes it a bit quicker to post comments too.

A new feature of the site is the shop, where as well as a range of McGonagall books (via your local version of Amazon), you can buy T-shirts and other McGonagalia. Keep an eye on this page, as new products will be appearing there soon!

Another new feature is the “Readers’ Gems” category of this blog. If you feel moved to write your own gem in McGonagallesque vein, on any subject, feel free to send it in and I’ll post it up here.

I hope you like the new design, use the comments below to tell me what you think.

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