Editing and its Futures (seminar)

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This was a fall 2011 semester seminar led by Jeffrey Masten.

What is scholarly editing now, and what are its futures? This seminar considered editorial theory and practice in the twentieth century in order to think about productive forms of editorial method, practice, and theory for the twenty-first. It also considered how key methodological innovations and theories in literary studies over the preceding decades have or could inflect early-modern editorial work–e.g., post-structuralism, feminism, new historicism, sexuality studies, transnational and ethnic studies, theories of authorship and collaboration. In addition to examining particular print editions, we also analyzed the impact and possibilities inherent in new and emerging technologies of textual production, including hypertext, electronic editions and resources for editing, and new reading technologies. What has changed with the emergence of new(er) media, with many editing projects now involving digital technologies, whether as a starting point or in the finished (or always-in-process) product? To what extent have the dominant New Bibliographical approaches of the twentieth century persisted, been re-tooled, or been supplanted, as a result of critical and technological developments? In order to think most broadly about methods and futures, we read a wide range of critical, editorial, and theoretical works (from the paradigm-setting New Bibliographical work of Pollard, Greg, Bowers, and Tanselle, through the variety of theorists and practitioners articulating the methodological developments mentioned above). Although our “primary”-text examples concentrated on early modern English drama, several sessions were dedicated to issues raised by poetry, prose, and potentially non-literary documents. What assumptions and methods are transportable across generic and disciplinary boundaries–particularly from the direction of drama, where some areas of critical debate have been elaborated especially strongly?

Director: Jeffrey Masten is Herman and Beulah Pearce Miller Research Professor in Literature at Northwestern University. He is the author of Textual Intercourse: Authorship, Collaboration, and Sexualities in Renaissance Drama (1997), co-editor of Language Machines: Technologies of Literary and Cultural Production (1997), editor of The Old Law for the Oxford Middleton (2007), and editor of the Arden edition of Marlowe’s Edward II (in progress).