GRAPHOSCOPE: Lenses for Close Reading


A “graphoscope” is a tool similar to a magnifying glass that allows a reader to see very small text and images.

Graphoscope provides readers with various lenses (in the form of introductions and in-text comments) for taking a closer look at written material – not for the purpose of reinforcing a “correct” way to interpret a particular document, but to reveal the many possibilities that can exist together in one text.

There are three options for browsing the documents on the site: starting with the newest (most recently posted) annotated documents, alphabetical by the original author’s last name, or chronological by the original publication date. All three categories include everything – only the arrangement of the documents within them differs.

All of the annotated texts on Graphoscope are pdfs that should easily open in a web browser when you click on the document link (or they can be downloaded).

The fine print: You are free to use our annotated materials for educational purposes, but not for financial gain, and please credit our contributors.  However, since most of our texts are repurposed from Project Gutenberg (an amazing online resource for digitized versions of out-of-copyright books), you may find the original documents on their site and use them in a larger range of ways.  Here’s a link to their terms of use:


Jessica Campbell holds a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Washington, as well as a B.A. from Middlebury College. She is happy to read and teach literary texts of all kinds, but her specialties are fairy tales and nineteenth-century British literature.

Rachel Linn is the founding editor of Graphoscope. She has an M.A. in interdisciplinary humanities with a literature focus from New York University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Washington. Along with annotating documents, she provides the photographs and illustrations for the Graphoscope site.  To see examples of her creative work, visit

Trish Shields is a registered nurse with 20 years of experience.  She has worked in a respiratory clinic and a rehabilitation ward for children recovering from traumatic injuries and/or surgery.