Committee on Scholarly Editions

Annual Report to the Executive Council

of the Modern Language Association

September 15, 2002

 

 

Background:

            The Committee on Scholarly Editions (CSE) is a standing committee of the MLA, created in September 1976 to replace the advisory board of the Center for Editions of American Authors (CEAA). As the change in name implied, the CSE was charged with fostering high standards not just for scholarly editing of American authors, but for scholarly editing of any au­thor in any language or historical period embraced by the MLA. From the start, but especially under its three pre­vious chairs (Jo Ann Boydston, 1988–1992, Gary A. Stringer, 1992–1996, and Robert Hirst, 1996-2001) the committee has steadily but cautiously enlarged the range of editions (and periods and languages) for which it was willing and able to provide professional advice. In the recent past the committee has dealt with editions in English ranging from The Play of Wisdom, the complete works of Anne Vaughan Lock, and the English poems of Charles d’Orléans, to various titles by Donne, Herbert, Thackeray, Wordsworth, Carlyle, Blake, Conrad, and Woolf. It has also reviewed editions of works in romance languages, e.g. those by Marie de France and Luis Vélez de Guevara.  And it has continued to provide services for editors of American writers and philosophers well beyond the favored few originally sponsored by the CEAA—now including George Santayana, Charles Sanders Peirce, Frederick Douglass, Sinclair Lewis, Willa Cather, Robert Penn Warren, Harriet A. Jacobs, and Robinson Jeffers. It has also continued to inspect standard scholarly editions of William James, Mark Twain, Coop­er, Melville, Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman. Most recently, the Committee has substantially revised its guidelines and its guiding questions for vettors, to take electronic scholarly editions into account.

 

Current Membership:

            The committee normally has nine members: at present, one of those seats is empty, because of some confusion in this year’s appointment process.  The current members of the committee are:

MJ Devaney, Random House (1999-2003)

Morris Eaves, University of Rochester (2001-2005)

Margaret Ezell, Texas A&M University (2001-2005)

Robert Hirst, University of California, Berkeley  (2000-2004)

Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, Notre Dame University (1999-2003) – co-chair

Don Reiman, University of Delaware (2002-2006)

John Unsworth, University of Virginia (2000-2004) – co-chair

Jack Zipes, University of Minnesota (2002-2006)

[Vacant Seat, 2002-2006]

MLA liaison: David Nicholls

MLA staff assistant: Sonia Kane

 

Activities of the Committee:

            In January of 2002, Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe and John Unsworth took over as co-chairs of the Committee on Scholarly Editions, following the five-year term of Bob Hirst.  The Committee wishes to express its sincere and cordial thanks to Bob Hirst for his tireless and expert service to the profession, the MLA, and many individual editions, over the term of his chairmanship.

            In September of 2002, the CSE will begin to use a new review database designed by John Unsworth and hosted at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities.  This database, which is web-accessible, will reduce mailing costs for the MLA (since it presents reviews and supporting materials online, and allows Committee members to vote online as well) and it should speed up the Committee’s process in general.  Unsworth also maintains an email list for Committee communications, archived for web browsing.  This and other internal Committee documents are linked to a web page at http://www.iath.virginia.edu/~jmu2m/cse/

            Also in 2002, John Unsworth and Phyllis Franklin secured a grant of just over $40,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a volume of essays on Electronic Textual Editing, to be co-sponsored by the CSE and the Text Encoding Initiative Consortium, host of the most widely used standard for electronic editions of literary texts.  An outline of the volume, with contributors, is attached as Appendix B.  The volume will be co-edited by Lou Burnard (TEI), Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe (CSE), and John Unsworth (CSE and TEI).  The MLA publications committee has approved the prospectus, and the manuscript is scheduled for completion in January of 2003. 

            The volume on Electronic Textual Editing will include the CSE’s revised guidelines for scholarly editions, a revision designed to accommodate electronic editions.  This revision has been underway, in one form or another, since 1995, when the CSE charged Peter Shillingsburg and Charles Faulhaber with drafting guidelines for electronic scholarly editions.  That draft was completed in 1997 and presented to the CSE.  In 1998, the CSE decided to commission a review of the guidelines from some editors of electronic scholarly editions, and in 1999, those editors reported to the CSE, recommending that instead of separate guidelines for print and electronic editions, the CSE should have one set of guidelines to govern both kinds of editions, and further, that those guidelines should be divided into basic principles of electronic scholarly editing, best practices in editing materials of different sorts, from varying periods and theoretical perspectives, and best technical practices in producing print or electronic editions.  The Committee accepted these recommendations, and in 2001 completed a draft of this revision, minus the checklist of guiding questions for vettors of electronic editions.  That checklist will be produced, and the rest of the revisions finalized, in 2002. 

            In December of 2002, the CSE will sponsor two sessions at the MLA’s annual convention.  These sessions, organized by Committee member Morris Eaves, will focus on Electronic Textual Editing (the activity, and the upcoming volume), and will be held back-to-back in a single room at the Hilton (Sat., 28 Dec., 8.30-9.45 and 10.15-11.30 in Concourse B,).  Participants, all of whom are also contributors to the volume, will include Neil Fraistat (University of Maryland), Steve Jones (Loyola University, Chicago), Peter Shillingsburg (University of North Texas), David Gants (University of Georgia), Kevin Kiernan (University of Kentucky), and Julia Flanders (Brown University).  Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe and John Unsworth will chair the sessions. 

            During the year from September 2001 to September 2002, the Committee has overseen seven completed reviews of scholarly editions and initiated reviews of another six editions. 

 

Editions Approved:

 

1. Frederick Douglass

Title:                                My Bondage and My Freedom

Editors of this title:           John W. Blassingame, John R. McKivigan, Peter P. Hinks,

and Gerald Fulkerson, with L. Diane Barnes, Assistant

Editor

CSE Inspector:                Thomas L. McHaney, Georgia State University

Status:                             Approved, November 3, 2001


 

2. George Santayana

Title:                                The Letters, Volume V–Book 2, The Works of George

Santayana  

Editors of this title:           Marianne Wokeck, Kristine W. Frost, William G.

Holzberger, Textual Editor, and Herman Saatkamp, General

Editor

CSE Inspector:                David J. Nordloh, Indiana University

Status:                             Approved, November 7, 2001

 

3. Emily Davies

Title:                                Selected Letters of Emily Davies

Editors of this title:           Ann B. Murphy and Deirdre Raferty

CSE Inspector:                Maryann Valiulis, Trinity College, University of Dublin

Status:                             Approved, February 14, 2002

 

4. Henry D. Thoreau

Title:                                Journals. Volume 8 in The Writings of Henry David

Thoreau

Editor of this title:             Elizabeth Witherell, General Editor

CSE Inspector:                Richard D. Rust, University of North Carolina

Status:                             Approved, May 6, 2002

 

5. George Santayana

Title:                                The Letters, Volume V–Book 3, The Works of George

Santayana  

Editors of this title:           Marianne Wokeck, Kristine W. Frost, William G.

Holzberger, Textual Editor, and Herman Saatkamp, General

Editor

CSE Inspector:                David J. Nordloh, Indiana University

Status:                             Approved, May 7, 2002

 

6. Luis Vélez de Guevara

         Title:                                El Conde don Pero Vélez y don Sancho el Deseado.

                                                 Comedias Completas de Luis Vélez de Guevara.

         Editor of this title:             George Peale

         CSE Inspector:                Donald McGrady, retired

         Review Manager:             John Unsworth

         Status:                             Approved, May 22, 2002

 

7. Mark Twain

         Title:                                Mark Twain's Letters Volume 6, 1874-1875

         Editor of this title:             Michael B. Frank and Harriet Elinor Smith

         CSE Inspector:                Noel Polk, University of Southern Mississippi

         Review Manager:             Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe

         Status:                             Approved, May 28, 2002

Reviews in Progress:

 

1. Mark Twain

         Title:                                Huckleberry Finn

         Editor of this title: Victor Fischer and Lin Salamo

         CSE Inspector:                Hershel Parker, University of Delaware

         Review Manager: John Unsworth

         Status:                             Report complete, awaiting a vote

 

2. George Santayana

Title:                                The Letters, Volume V–Book 4, The Works of George

Santayana  

Editors of this title:           Marianne Wokeck, Kristine W. Frost, William G.

Holzberger, Textual Editor, and Herman Saatkamp,

General Editor

CSE Inspector:                David J. Nordloh, Indiana University

Review Manager: Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe

Status:                             Review in progress

 

3. Willa Cather

         Title:                                One of Ours

         Editor of this title: Susan Rosowski

         CSE Inspector:                Elizabeth Witherell, Northern Illinois University

         Review Manager: John Unsworth

         Status:                             Review in progress

 

4. Luis Velez de Guevara

         Title:                                El espejo del mundo

         Editor of this title: George Peale

         CSE Inspector:                Robert Fiore, University of Arizona

         Review Manager: Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe

         Status:                             Review in progress

 

5. William James

         Title:                                The Correspondence of William James, Vol. 11

         Editor of this title: Elizabeth Berkeley

         CSE Inspector:                Greg  Zacharias, Creighton University

         Review Manager: John Unsworth

         Status:                             Review in progress

 

6. William Wordsworth

         Title:                                Cornell Wordsworth, Vol. 20

         Editor of this title: Stephen Parrish

         CSE Inspector:                not assigned

         Review Manager: Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe

         Status:                             Looking for a reviewer