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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.
Beginning in the early 1970s, scholars have been recovering an Asian American literary archive. The first anthologies of Asian American literature defined the field in divergent ways. Some focused on US-born writers and a politics of cultural nationalism. Others embraced a wider range of writers and a variety of political positions. The second wave of anthologies and scholarly discussions reacted against more limited views of Asian American literature and extended the field to encompass more women writers, genres such as poetry and drama, works written before the 1960s, and authors from beyond those of East Asian descent. Depending on the particular project, recovery has meant unearthing forgotten writings, revaluing discounted or discredited texts, or rethinking the sociopolitical context of works. Recovery continues today in print and digital editions released by both independent and mainstream publishers. Questions remain about which authors and works deserve recovery, and the stakes are high since inclusion in a canon can serve as a proxy for inclusion in a culture.
Chapter 30 of The Cambridge Companion to Sappho examines the reception of Sappho’s poetry in Latin America, examining figures such as José Martí, Julio Herrera y Reissig, Esteban de Luca, Lucas José de Alvarenga, TomÁs Antônio Gonzaga, Carlos Guido y Spano, Álvares de Azevedo, Antônio Frederico de Castro Alves, Mario Faustino, SalomÓn de la Selva, Haroldo de Campos, Décio Pignatari, Mercedes Matamoros, Juana de Ibarbourou, Alfonsina Storni, Alejandra Pizarnik, Rosario Castellanos, Mercedes CortÁzar, and Ana Cristina César.
Already at a young age, Strauss made initial contacts with well-known publishing houses. Eugen Spitzweg of the Munich publishing house Jos. Aibl became a paternal friend for the aspiring composer. At the beginning, when Strauss was barely known to a wide audience, Spitzweg expressed his friendship by including Strauss’s compositions in his catalog. But soon Strauss’s reputation grew – and with it his self-confidence in negotiations with his business partners. Unlike some other important composers in music history, Strauss developed into a capable businessman and secured high fees for his music. This chapter highlights the publishing context of Strauss’s work. It characterizes his relationships with his long-time main publishers, names the publishers with whom Strauss collaborated only briefly, and presents an overview of the great variety of sheet music editions (from historical publications to modern critical editions) in which Strauss’s music is available.
Strauss’s written correspondence consists of many thousands of documents. The publicly-known portion is extensive indeed, even without approximating the total inventory: edited today are some 8,000 letters, postcards, and telegrams to and from the composer, the bulk of which have not been translated. Hitherto untapped, however, is more than that amount of material in various archives and libraries. Particularly noteworthy here is the family-owned Richard-Strauss-Archiv in Garmisch, which houses the largest share of Straussiana worldwide, including the largest collection of letters to the composer. An official, even if not fully complete catalog of Strauss’s correspondence, both published and unpublished, is still an urgent research desideratum. This chapter contextualizes the extant materials by focusing on issues such as access, chronology, editorial standards, and dissemination, while calling for all materials to be made accessible via modern edition principles.
This essay examines how in editions, on the stage, and in biographies, Jonson was revised and reinterpreted for the eighteenth century, generally as a foil to Shakespeare. The first illustrated Jonson was published in 1716, with the plays for the most part represented as if on a modern stage, though few had been performed since the early seventeenth century. Portraits of Jonson too went through much revision, even at one point substituting a slim, youthful, lively poet for the heavyset middle-aged scholar of the previous century. Critical treatments of the playwright were ambivalent, even maintaining that the role he conceived for himself, and that best expressed his character, was that of Morose in Epicene. David Garrick made the roles of Kitely in Every Man in His Humour and Drugger in The Alchemist particularly his own, with the latter even spawning a series of tobacconist sequels. But these productions rebalanced the plays around star performances and increased their sensationalism and emotional temperature. In print, portraits, and performance Jonson was not afforded the same care and respect that were lavished on Shakespeare and was increasingly overshadowed by him.
Elena Rebollo-Cortés examines how the material features of Sylvia Plath’s final two books have played a key role in establishing a critical framework for the interpretation of her texts and in defining her posthumous identity as a writer. In the context of the publishing history and the literary afterlife of Plath’s works, Rebollo-Cortés shows us how the figure of Plath has been presented to readers through the visual and textual packaging of key editions of Ariel and The Bell Jar. These key works have had a wide readership and large presence in the literary market. Their editions have therefore played a major role in the creation and perpetuation of Plath’s identification with a tragic figure. This concentration on books as historical and material objects presupposes that editions are (sometimes overlooked) vehicles of meaning, revealing, for example, that editions of Ariel disclose how Plath has been portrayed as a Faber poet, a woman poet, or a myth, while editions of The Bell Jar have privileged biographical readings of the novel.
This essay assesses the challenge of digital culture to the representation and reproduction of Chaucer’s work, arguing that scholarly projects associated with the emergence of ‘digital humanities’ have in the main replicated the humanist goals of traditional literary scholarship. With the rapidly changing nature of digital textualities, the essay concludes by suggesting that a proper reckoning between Chaucer’s works and digital culture has yet to take place.
However well-regarded Chaucer’s works were during his lifetime, it was his immediate successors who fashioned him into the ‘father of English poetry’ they then bequeathed to the subsequent English literary tradition. In particular, the poets Thomas Hoccleve and John Lydgate not only represented Chaucer in this manner in their own, widely disseminated works, they were also instrumental in the broad dissemination of Chaucer’s works. Importantly, these activities were motivated not just by admiration but also by a politico-literary context in which Hoccleve and Lydgate, unlike Chaucer, were asked to produce works that spoke both for a prince and to a prince. Their invention of Chaucer’s literary authority cannot then be separated from their intervention into politics, and this conflation they also bequeathed to the English literary tradition, where it remained plainly visible in the works of their own successors, and where it persists, more obscurely, to the present.