Thomas Browne Project

Events menu


16-17 July 2014

This AHRC-funded two-day conference explored the future of scholarly editing offering perspectives from experienced editors including researchers on a number of OUP editions: The Works of Thomas Browne, John Aubrey's Brief Lives and Kenelm Digby's correspondence, the letters and papers of Richard Baxter, Donne's sermons, Hakluyt's Navigations, and Milton's prose. Cathy Shrank's opening keynote drew on her editorial work on Coriolanus and the sonnets, including the role of textual notes, textual error versus literary difficulty, and editorial idiosyncrasy.

Speakers offered valuable insights into the editorial problems and solutions on recent and ongoing early-modern editions: David Colclough on editing Donne's Death's Duel; Joe Moshenska on the textuality of Kenelm Digby's letters; Kate Bennett on the case for retaining messiness when editing Aubrey's Brief Lives; and Tom Charlton and Alison Searle on the challenges of editing Richard Baxter's letters and life. Among proposed innovations were Valerie Rumbold's appeal for a readerly and engaging presentation of textual apparatus, and Rebecca Barr and Justin Tonra's argument for crowdsourcing in editorial annotation; Christopher Burlinson discussed narrating the evolution of a poem through dating stemmata; Sukanta Chaudhuri called for a full-text database of Renaissance playscripts; Jessica Wolfe, working on Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica, unfolded a vision of annotation as conversation; Daniel Carey explained the added complications and possibilities in editing Hakluyt's compilations.  Leah Marcus was unable to join us on the day, but Claire Preston read out her paper on the history of introductions to The Tempest. The conference included updates from editors whose projects are complete - Nicholas McDowell on his edition of Milton's prose - as well as from work in progress: Richard Serjeantson on an undiscovered manuscript of Descartes' 'Regulae ad directionem ingenii'; Jeffrey Miller and Tom Roebuck on their edition of Selden's Table-Talk. There were also two papers from younger scholars not formally engaged on an edition but very much engaged in the issues of editing: Joel Grossman spoke on the editorial traditions of Tottel's 'Miscellany', while Dianne North discussed the 'forest of variants' in the MSS of Dudley North.

In the closing session Peter McCullough chaired a fascinating open roundtable session with Michael Hunter, Cathy Shrank, Henry Woudhuysen and OUP's Commissioning Editor Jacqueline Baker.  Henry Woudhuysen's closing keynote brought the conference to a conclusion on a high, providing a learned, entertaining and witty survey of the history of scholarly editing and its prospects for the future.

Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, E1 4NS
Francis Bancroft Building, Room 2.40

Keynote speakers: Professor Cathy Shrank (University of Sheffield) and Professor Henry Woudhuysen (University of Oxford)


Day 1
Keynote 1 Professor Cathy Shrank (University of Sheffield)


Panel 1
- Leah Marcus (Vanderbilt University), 'A Man Who Needs No Introduction'
- Jessica Wolfe (UNC), 'Annotating Browne's Pseudodoxia: sources versus conversations'
- David Colclough (QMUL), 'A Well Wrought Urn? Editing John Donne's final sermon'
- Joe Moshenska (University of Cambridge), 'Insignificant space in manuscript letters: the case of Kenelm Digby'


Panel 2
- Kate Bennett, (University of Oxford), '"My original minutes": Editing Aubrey's Brief Lives'
-Tom Charlton (University of Stirling), 'A faith ‘kindled’ or ‘sharpened’? Editing Richard Baxter's life'


Panel 3
- Joel Grossman (QMUL), 'Unediting Tottel: Editorial mythologies and the Tudor miscellany'
- Christopher Burlinson (University of Cambridge), 'Poems and News: Textual Editions and Information Networks'
- Alison Searle (University of Sydney), '‘...a Connaturality of Spirit in the Saints that will work by Sympathy’: Constructing Richard Baxter as a Letter Writer in the Context of His Correspondence Networks'



Day 2

Panel 4
- Daniel Carey (NUI Galway), 'To Edit the Editor: Protocols and Possibilities for an Edition of Richard Hakluyt's Principal Navigations...of the English Nation (1598-1600)'
- Dianne Mitchell (University of Pennsylvania), 'A Forest of Variants: the strange case of Dudley North'
- Richard Serjeantson (University of Cambridge), 'Editing manuscript drafts of early modern philosophical texts: problems of principle and practice'


Panel 5
- Sukanta Chaudhuri (Jadavpur University), 'Renaissance drama as a very large textual object: the possibilities of a full-text database'
- Rebecca Barr and Justin Tonra (NUI Galway), 'For the sake of argument: crowdsourcing annotation of Macpherson’s Ossian'


Panel 6
- Valerie Rumbold (University of Birmingham), 'Textual apparatus and reader engagement'
- Nicholas McDowell (University of Exeter), 'Revising Republicanism? Political Argument and Copy Text in Milton’s Regicide Writings'
- Jeffrey Miller (Montclair State University) and Tom Roebuck (University of East Anglia), 'Editing the Table Talk of John Selden'


Roundtable: Pitching and planning an edition

Keynote 2 Professor Henry Woudhuysen (University of Oxford)

Download a pdf version of the programme here.

Further Information

If you cannot find the answer to your question about the conference here, please e-mail either Dr Harriet Phillips or Dr Claire Bryony Williams

Bookmark and Share
Return to top