The Digital Humanities Is Instant Hit

Ron Musto and Eileen Gardiner: Long Time Roosevelt Islanders Score with New Book

Updated 5 weeks ago David Stone
Ron Musto and Eileen Gardiner: Long Time Roosevelt Islanders Score with New Book

"Royalty statements from Cambridge today. This book is selling. Advance cleared quite a while ago, now into very nice digits!" Ron Musto posted on Facebook. He's referring to The Digital Humanities, a new book written with co-author Eileen Gardiner and published by Cambridge University Press.

Last year, after years in Westview where they wrote and published books through Italica Press, Musto and Gardner accepted an offer to teach and write in Great Britain, settling in Bristol. Since, stateside friends have been treated to an envy-inducing visual tour of their travels through beautifully shot photos posted on Facebook.

Italian historic art filled our screens - and hearts - and Bristol got a chance to show off the attractions that landed the now ex-New Yorkers.

But back to The Digital Humanities...

The new book is not lightweight.

According to its marketing blurb...

"The Digital Humanities is a comprehensive introduction and practical guide to how humanists use the digital to conduct research, organize materials, analyze, and publish findings. It summarizes the turn toward the digital that is reinventing every aspect of the humanities among scholars, libraries, publishers, administrators, and the public.

"Beginning with some definitions and a brief historical survey of the humanities, the book examines how humanists work, what they study, and how humanists and their research have been impacted by the digital and how, in turn, they shape it. It surveys digital humanities tools and their functions, the digital humanists' environments, and the outcomes and reception of their work.

"The book pays particular attention to both theoretical underpinnings and practical considerations for embarking on digital humanities projects. It places the digital humanities firmly within the historical traditions of the humanities and in the contexts of current academic and scholarly life."

Ron Musto and Eileen Gardiner: Long Time Roosevelt Islanders Score with New Book

Reviews have been ecstatic:

"Deep scholarship and lively engagement with a vast range of contemporary innovations animate this concise, reliable, indeed almost indispensable book."
James J. O'Donnell, author of Avatars of the Word

"Here is the rare publication that offers an insider's deep understanding of the humanities as well as the practitioner's experience of the digital. A wealth of theoretical and technical information is on offer, including an invaluable compendium of resources for the aspiring researcher. But the book's crucial insight is that the fundamental issues shaping this arena are cultural, not technological."
Gail Feigenbaum, Getty Research Institute

"This remarkably intelligent and lucid book explains how the emergence of the digital world has created remarkable opportunities for gains in knowledge through the practice of the humanities. This book, providing a useful appendix and glossary, will lead students and scholars alike to think afresh about why they consider knowledge, its sources, and its representation the way they do."
Nicola Courtright, Amherst College

The news does not come as a surprise to those of us who've acquainted ourselves with Musto's and Gardiner's work. (Full disclosure: Both contributed commentary and news to this newspaper before relocating.)

Over the years, they wrote and published works as diverse as Gardiner's Buddhist Hell: Visions, Tours and Descriptions of the Infernal Otherworld and their jointly composed A Year in Union Square: 52 Seasonal Pasta Dishes.

For most of us here, Eileen Gardiner and Ron Musto were friends, neighbors, community contributors and fellow riders on the Tram and Red Bus. Away from the East River, they are celebrated, industrious writers whose work, both scholarly and mainstream, reaches pinnacles of success few others share. 

Their roots will always be in New York. They will not be forgotten, and we wish them more of the same success from this side of the Atlantic.

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