The Theory and Practice of Scholarly Editing (seminar)

For more past programming from the Folger Institute, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

This was a fall 2001 semester seminar.

This seminar examined the theory and the practice of editing early modern manuscript and printed materials, drawing on the Library's wealth of documentary resources. Since how one edits a text is a proxy for how one reads a text, the textual topics covered were be related, as appropriate, to issues of literary interpretation as posed by contemporary reading practices. The seminar also attended to a practical expertise peculiar to the craft, charting a course between the Scylla of Theory (textual criticism) and the Charybdis of Practice (scholarly editing). The seminar read and discussed a set of foundational texts that set out the history and rationale for a variety of currently available editorial models (such as documentary editions; Lachmannian stemmatic editions; Greg-Bowers copy-text / eclectic / critical editions; versioning / "unediting"; and socially-based editing). It examined the new skills and policies demanded by computer-based editions; it studied feminist editorial practice; and, finally, it took up the questions of securing grant support. While all who have an interest in textual matters were welcome, those with current or potential editing projects were especially encouraged to apply.


Director: W. Speed Hill is Professor of English at Lehman College, CUNY. He has edited two volumes of the Papers of the Renaissance English Text Society, New Ways of Looking at Old Texts I and II (1993, 1998). He is the General Editor of the Folger Library edition of the Works of Richard Hooker and coeditor of TEXT: An Interdisciplinary Annual of Textual Studies.