After working on this project for several months, I have come to several conclusions about both John Donne's work in regard to my initial research questions and the usefulness of digital humanities in conducting certain kinds of research. While these conclusions are still preliminary, I hope to share these conclusions with my visitors so that I may provide insight, advice, and examples to whomever is visiting this site and whomever may visit in the future.

The first thing I wanted to do was see what literary elements Donne uses in his work. By tagging metaphysical conceit and allusion in the text, I was able to review just how prominent these devices are in his writing. In addition, using Javascript I was able to demonstrate just how often Donnne makes use of these devices in his writing.

What was perhaps most surprising was my discovery that Donne uses a great number of commands in his writing. Directing his speech right at the audience, Donne's poetry is effective by asking something of his readers directly isntead of using an enthymeme to do so. Using the count(//@class[.='command']) function in my XML, I was able determine that the ten poems I included in this collection make use of a total of 35 commands. These commands could have a minor impact on the poetry, with only one or two commands in a poem, to a major impact with 11 or 12 commands within a single poem. I found that the poems with more commands were also much more widely accepted by Donne enthusiasts and poetry critics. John Donne's use of commands allowed his readers to understand his meaning more directly and also gave voice to the speaker of the poem that otherwise would not be present. From a literary perspective, this DH project showed me just how much of a difference a few commands can make to poetic voice.

From a programming perspective, I've learned a lot from doing this project. While I pursued this project as a part of a course at the University of Pittsburgh, I found that I learned the most in this class when I had questions about what I wanted to do with this project. Overall, I now have an understanding of XML, XSLT, XQuery, XPath, HTML, Javascript, CSS, Compact Schema, and general coding protocol. It's been a pleasure.

Again, if there are any questions about this project, please send an email to Thanks!