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The basic history of the Shakespearean editorial tradition is familiar and well-established. For nearly three centuries, men – most of them white and financially privileged – ensconced themselves in private and hard-to-access libraries, hammering out 'their' versions of Shakespeare's text. They produced enormous, learnèd tomes: monuments to their author's greatness and their own reputations. What if this is not the whole story? A bold, revisionist and alternative version of Shakespearean editorial history, this book recovers the lives and labours of almost seventy women editors. It challenges the received wisdom that, when it came to Shakespeare, the editorial profession was entirely male-dominated until the late twentieth century. In doing so, it demonstrates that taking these women's work seriously can transform our understanding of the history of editing, of the nature of editing as an enterprise, and of how we read Shakespeare in history.
Publishing Scholarly Editions offers new intellectual tools for publishing digital editions that bring readers closer to the experimental practices of literature, editing, and reading. After the Introduction (Section 1), Sections 2 and 3 frame intentionality and data analysis as intersubjective, interrelated, and illustrative of experience-as-experimentation. These ideas are demonstrated in two editorial exhibitions of nineteenth-century works: Herman Melville's Billy Budd, Sailor, and the anti-slavery anthology The Bow in the Cloud, edited by Mary Anne Rawson. Section 4 uses pragmatism to rethink editorial principles and data modelling, arguing for a broader conception of the edition rooted in data collections and multimedia experience. The Conclusion (Section 5) draws attention to the challenges of publishing digital editions, and why digital editions have failed to be supported by the publishing industry. If publications are conceived as pragmatic inventions based on reliable, open-access data collections, then editing can embrace the critical, aesthetic, and experimental affordances of editions of experience.
This chapter adopts a book history approach to account for Richard Wright’s steep rise to popular success and critical recognition, mapping the unexpected way Wright became a published author. In keeping with the discipline’s interest for editorial mediators, it reviews Wright’s trajectory from a minor poet and radical artist to a best-selling author by focusing on publication outlets -- from left-wing reviews to mainstream editorial institutions -- and by determining the triggers of this evolution, namely the Story magazine prize and the Book-of-the-Month Club selections. Following book history’s curiosity for the political, social, and cultural context in which books come to be published and circulated, the chapter then sheds light on confrontations and compromises found in the correspondence with editorial authorities, such as his publisher and the book club judges. Such negotiations allowed for the broadened readership Wright was able to reach out to, across racial lines and national boundaries. The editorial history of Wright’s early career thus illuminates the making of a best-selling African American author.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845), which has appeared in more than four hundred editions, is one of the most enduring and widely available African American texts. More than three dozen editions of the book have appeared in print since 1990. The variety of editions includes an ever-expanding body of paratexts such as chronologies, notes, bibliographies, and study guides, which reveal the extent to which publishers, editors, and scholars continually redesign Douglass’s book for new generations of readers. Investigations of Narrative editions and paratexts enhance views of one of our most well-known writers and books.
The private library of the Syrian playwright and public intellectual Saʿdallah Wannous arrived at the American University of Beirut in 2015. This chapter sets out to read Wannous through his library. After presenting a brief overview of the books in Wannous’ library, their subject matter, and their provenance, it examines personal book inscriptions, which unravel a rich intellectual network and provide insight into Wannous’ trajectory and recognition as a playwright and public intellectual. It then explores the conditions under which Wannous’ library came into existence and flourished in a Syria marked by the Baʿth party and the Assad regime’s authoritarian control of the political and cultural fields, under which it migrated from Damascus to Beirut in the wake of the 2011 Syrian revolution-turned-war. Wannous’ library, the chapter argues, opened an Arabic and world literary space, both physical and metaphorical, from which Wannous emerged as a modern Arabic and world-renowned playwright.
The introduction to the book historicises early responses to Sterne’s pioneering visual devices and establishes the rarity of illustrated first edition novels at mid-eighteenth century. It provides an insight into Sterne’s remarkable contribution to the history of the novel while justifying the scope of this project, which is to tackle mid-century book design more broadly. If first edition novels did not traditionally include visuals, what kind of books did? It also provides a brief outline of the contents.
Scrutinising Sterne's fiction through a book history lens, Helen Williams creates novel readings of his work based on meticulous examination of its material and bibliographical conditions. Alongside multiple editions and manuscripts of Sterne's own letters and works, a panorama of interdisciplinary sources are explored, including dance manuals, letter-writing handbooks, newspaper advertisements, medical pamphlets and disposable packaging. For the first time, this wealth of previously overlooked material is critically analysed in relation to the design history of Tristram Shandy, conceptualising the eighteenth-century novel as an artefact that developed in close conjunction with other media. In examining the complex interrelation between a period's literature and the print matter of everyday life, this study sheds new light on Sterne and eighteenth-century literature by re-defining the origins of his work and of the eighteenth-century novel more broadly, whilst introducing readers to diverse print cultural forms and their production histories.
Chapter 3 tabulates the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) entries for extant Bibles held in libraries around the world today and discuss what the ESTC data can and cannot tell us about the eighteenth-century Bible trade. An overview of the history of the trade, particularly of the career of John Baskett, royal printer in London from 1710 to 1742, described by an early historian of the Bible trade as “one of the greatest monopolists of Bibles who ever lived” (Lee 179) shows that the number of ESTC catalogue entries do not correlate to changes in the popularity of the Bible. However, the ESTC data does tell us about shifts in the competitiveness or relative openness of the English Bible trade and the book trade more generally. The Bible becomes a nongovernmental book after the 1730s, and the geographical centers of English Bible production shift from Amsterdam and Oxford in the 1680s to London in the early 1700s to Cambridge and Edinburgh in the 1760s. This chapter also describes a variety of cultural associations that the English Bible accrues through its commodification in the period: a charity gift, an overseas book, and a luxury item.
This chapter examines ‘the Stainton Missal’, a small folio in 8s, which survives in York Minster Library. It was printed in Paris in 1516 for use in York. The provenance covers a narrow geographical field, spanning the Reformation in emblematic form. In the exactly 500 years of its life, to this day, it has never moved outside of a small triangle in North Yorkshire, between York itself and the edges of the Dales and the Moors. However, the sensational aspect of the book is concealed by these details. At the opening of the Te igitur at the beginning of the Canon, the eye is confronted, we might say assaulted, by a vigorous slash, diagonally across the image of the Cross. Below, through the next dozens of leaves, is another, deeper gouge, in the opposite direction to the slashed crucifix, forming a reverse cross. The book is an astonishing example of iconoclasm. In this chapter, this macabre object is opened out to the fate more broadly of the fate of ritual books. How does the destruction of books relate to their consecration or preservation, and how does this relate to the history of memory before and after the Reformation?
In the late 1920s in Old Headington outside Oxford, a woman called Lilian Gurden, who was working in the garden of the home of Mrs Dorothea Johnson, was invited inside by her employer for a cup of coffee. Mrs Johnson was the wife of John de Monins Johnson (1882–1956), Printer to the University of Oxford from 1925 to 1946 and the most significant English ephemerist of the twentieth century. Interviewed in 1986 by another important ephemerist, Maurice Rickards, Lilian Gurden (later Thrussell) recalled Dorothea Johnson telling her that she was unable to take a bath because it was ‘full of soaking album pages’. These albums contained printed ephemera from which John Johnson was extracting material for his collection, the ‘Sanctuary of Printing’, housed in an upper room of the printery of the Oxford University Press. Johnson’s interest in paper scraps had been inspired by his early experience as an Egyptologist, ‘digging the rubbish-mounds of Graeco-Roman cities in Egypt for the written materials – the waste paper of those ages’. Encountering long queues outside cinemas in 1920s Oxford as he travelled home from work, Johnson was led to contemplate the relationship between twentieth-century visual media, the cityscape, and advertising as a form of graphic and visual art. His not inconsiderable ambition was to document ‘the miscellany of the world … Trivial things like the development of advertisements on our hoardings … all the ephemera of our lives’.
Chapter 3 is focused on the short-lived Silsilat al-Nafaʾis (Precious Books Series), published in Beirut by Dar an-Nahar between 1967 and 1971 under the direction of modernist poet Youssuf al-Khal. The series engaged prominent modern Arab artists such as Chafic Abboud, Paul Guiragossian, and Dia al-Azzawi and extended the vision of al-Khal’s journal Shiʿr to the ‘preciousness’ of art books. This publishing endeavour formed a node connecting transnational modernist art and literary circuits with book publishing and was thus paradigmatic of new forms of visuality of the Arabic book. The chapter demonstrates how this new materiality was enabled by a network of changes in the visual arts, printing technologies and the political economy of transnational publishing in late 1960s Beirut. Relations between these three fields are analysed through a multifaceted lens, focusing on the book as at once a product of intellectual and artistic practice, a translocal artefact of visual and print culture and a commodity in a capitalist economy of publishing. The analysis probes the political, intellectual and aesthetic modalities of key books from this series and maps the transnational networks of social relations and circuits of modernism that are interwoven in their undertaking.
The modernist bookshop, best exemplified by Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare & Co. and Harold Monro's Poetry Bookshop, has received scant attention outside these more prominent examples. This writing will review how bookshops like David Archer's on Parton Street (London) in the 1930s were sites of distribution, publication, and networking. Parton Street, which also housed Lawrence & Wishart publishers and a briefly vibrant literary scene, will be approached from several contexts as a way of situating the modernist bookshop within both the book trade and the literary communities which it interacted with and made possible.
During the Italian Renaissance, laywomen and nuns could take part in every stage of the circulation of texts of many kinds, old and new, learned and popular. This first in-depth and integrated analysis of Italian women's involvement in the material textual culture of the period shows how they could publish their own works in manuscript and print and how they promoted the first publication of works composed by others, acting as patrons or dedicatees. It describes how they copied manuscripts and helped to make and sell printed books in collaboration with men, how they received books as gifts and borrowed or bought them, how they commissioned manuscripts for themselves and how they might listen to works in spoken or sung performance. Brian Richardson's richly documented study demonstrates the powerful social function of books in the Renaissance: texts-in-motion helped to shape women's lives and sustain their social and spiritual communities.
This chapter surveys how Irish titles singled out for reprinting by the British firm Penguin were presented in terms of the materiality of the book as an object, and particularly in the paratextual zones of their editions. It discusses how writers such as Liam O’Flaherty, Joyce Cary, Elizabeth Bowen and Seán O’Faoláin were reprinted, branded and circulated by the British firm Penguin, drawing on Gérard Genette’s concept of the paratext as denoting the threshold area or gateway to the text, which comprises elements like cover art, blurbs, laudatory quotations reprinted on covers or endpapers, and editorial introductions. It then offers a case study of one major Irish writer, the novelist Kate O’Brien, and explores how her novels were packaged and marketed within the Penguin and wider reprints milieu. The conclusion juxtaposes the publication of Irish writing by a London-based mass-market concern like Penguin with the activities of the Dolmen Press in Ireland. This native Dublin-based publishing house was modest in comparison to major British commercial presses, but would nonetheless evolve into an important force in the construction of an Irish literary culture in this period in its conscious definition of itself in opposition to international mass-market entities like Penguin.
Recent levels of scholarly activity suggest that Jonathan Swift and Edmund Burke remain the pre-eminent Irish writers of the period 1700–1780. Swift’s works are currently being newly edited under the auspices of Cambridge University Press and a new edition of his Correspondence was completed in 2014. It is timely, therefore, to take stock of how these and other bibliographical and critical resources have altered our approach to Swift. The present chapter conducts this assessment, first by looking at the kind of normative critical approach with which the author was himself furnished when encountering Swift as a student; and subsequently by surveying the areas of biography, Irish studies, and book history in which research activity since 2010 has been intense. The chapter discusses recent critical approaches to Swift, identifying the paradigms which studies of this highly controversial writer create and challenge, asking what it means to read Swift in the twenty-first century.
This article reconstructs the history of the Indian YMCA's Orientalist knowledge production in an attempt to capture a significant, if forgotten, transitional moment in the production and dissemination of scholarship on the religions and cultures of the Indian subcontinent. The YMCA's three Orientalist book series examined here flourished from the 1910s to the 1930s and represent a kind of third-stream approach to the study of South Asia. Inspired by the Christian fulfillment theory, “Y Orientalism” was at pains to differentiate itself from older polemical missionary writings. It also distanced itself from the popular “spiritual Orientalism” advocated by the Theosophical Society and from the philologically inclined “academic Orientalism” pursued in the Sanskrit departments of Western universities. The interest of the series’ authors in the region's present and the multifarious facets of its “little traditions,” living languages, arts, and cultures, as well as their privileging of knowledge that was generated “in the field” rather than in distant Western libraries, was unusual. Arguably, it anticipated important elements of the “area studies” approach to the Indian subcontinent that became dominant in Anglophone academia after the Second World War.
Publishing in Mark Twain’s lifetime underwent several technological revolutions, and Twain was at the center of many of them. His work as a typesetter gave him insight into the publishing process, which changed from intense manual labor in his younger days to increased automation by his later years. For most of his books, rather than publish through traditional publishing houses, he used subscription publishing, which involved door-to-door salesmen who showed prospective books to customers who ordered them for later delivery. He became a publisher himself when he started his own firm in 1885, successful at first with the publication of Huckleberry Finn and Grant’s autobiography, but ultimately a failure.
In the England, Scotland, Ireland and their colonies, throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, no intellectual system may have exercised greater structural or imaginative significance than the theology of John Calvin. In this context, the influence of Calvin’s ideas far outweighed the circulation of his published works, and the tradition of translating his publications into English, especially in the second half of the sixteenth century, continued as his ideas were received, adapted and disseminated in the distinctive and sometimes tumultuous religious environments of the Tudor and Stuart territories. These ideas took impressive hold. By the middle of the seventeenth century, Calvinist ideas had moved from the margins to the centre of the religious, cultural and political life of the three kingdoms, feeding into the outbreak of civil war and facilitating the revolution that in turn created the short-lived Cromwellian republic. Simultaneously, Calvinism began to variegate, as the Reformed theologies that circulated within and occasionally between the English, Scottish and Irish churches took on distinctive flavours, in reaction to which, and with the goal of uniting these divided Reformed churches, Calvinist theologians created some of the most important of the early modern confessions of faith. One of the longest of these, the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647), was intended to achieve, but never achieved, the doctrinal unity of the three established churches, though it remains a constitutional benchmark of Presbyterian denominations around the world. Despite some extraordinary achievements, Calvinist theology was in decline by the end of the seventeenth century, being defended by a shrinking number of clergy and adherents of established and dissenting churches, haunted by its association with political instability and constitutional chaos, and challenged by the presuppositions of the early Enlightenment and the emergence of trans-Atlantic evangelicalism as a variety of popular Protestantism better adapted to the religious circumstances of the early eighteenth century.