Brown Library’s Second Born-Digital Publication Wins PROSE Award

Presented by the Association of American Publishers, PROSE awards recognize the very best in professional and scholarly publishing

The Association of American Publishers has named Shadow Plays: Virtual Realities in an Analog World by Professor of Italian Studies Massimo Riva the category winner in eProduct for the 47th Annual PROSE Awards. PROSE awards recognize the very best in professional and scholarly publishing by celebrating the authors, editors, and publishers whose landmark works have made significant advancements in their respective fields of study each year.

PROSE award gold seal

Shadow Plays was published in June 2022 by Stanford University Press. The open access book explores popular forms of entertainment used in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to transport viewers to a new world, foreshadowing present-day virtual, augmented, and extended reality experiences (VR, AR, and XR). Typically studied as part of the pre-history of cinema or the archaeology of media, analog technologies such as the mondo nuovo or cosmorama, the magic lantern, the moving panorama, and the stereoscope evoked shadow-copies of our world long before the advent of digital technologies and exercised a powerful pull on minds and imaginations. Through six case histories and eight interactive simulations, Professor Riva explores themes of virtual travel, social surveillance, and utopian imagination, shedding light on illustrious or, in some instances, forgotten figures and inventions from Italy’s past.

title type for Shadow Plays: Virtual Realities in an Analogue World by Massimo Riva

Shadow Plays is Brown Library’s second multimodal monograph developed by Brown University Digital Publications, with additional support provided by the Office of the Vice President for Research. The Library’s first born-digital monograph, Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary, was awarded the 2023 Roy Rosenzweig Prize in Creativity in Digital History by the American Historical Association.

Questions about Shadow Plays can be addressed to Allison Levy, Director of Brown University Digital Publications ([email protected]).

About Brown University Digital Publications

Brown University Digital Publications — a collaboration between the University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, generously launched with support from the Mellon Foundation with additional support from the National Endowment for the Humanities — creates exciting new conditions for the production and sharing of knowledge. Widely recognized as accessible, intentional, and inclusive, Brown’s novel, university-based approach to digital content development is helping to set the standards for the future of scholarship in the digital age.

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