Main menu

Editing Contexts: Historical Editions of Literary Works and their Afterlives

Editing Contexts is a one-day interdisciplinary conference on historical editions of literary works, kindly supported by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH). It will be held on Friday 22nd June at TORCH, Radcliffe Humanities, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford. We invite abstracts from graduate students and early career researchers working on editorial practices in all periods of European literature.

Throughout history, editing has been a crucial stage in the reception of literary works. Editorial decisions could dramatically alter the experience of the audience and issues of interpretation. Beyond acts of correction and emendation, some editors have made substantial omissions, interpolations and rewritings, deliberately repurposing texts for new audiences. Although these non-authorial interventions are not always relevant to modern textual criticism, the work of historical editors nonetheless provides significant insights into how literary works were adapted in different eras, and how particular generations of readers would have known and understood them. These editions had currency in their day, and are integral to textual traditions as witnessed by their audiences.

Historical contexts – intellectual, cultural, political, religious – shaped the production, circulation, and influence of these editions. They played an important role in determining the aims and methods of editors, the extent of dissemination, and the responses of audiences. Some of the more influential editions had a lasting impact on the reception of particular works, provoking changes in scholarly method, in literature, and in wider society.

This one-day conference aims to bring together graduate students and early career researchers working in a wide range of disciplines from Classics to English Literature, Modern Languages, and History. We welcome papers across all periods, languages, and genres of European literature from Antiquity to the present. Possible themes include but are not limited to:

  • Editions from Antiquity to the present;
  • Interpolations and rewritings in manuscript traditions;
  • Editorial practice through the ages;
  • Editorial censorship;
  • Ideological commitments of modern editors.

We welcome abstracts for twenty-minute papers (ca. 250 words). Please send all submissions to editingcontexts@gmail.com by Friday 18th May 2018. There is a small conference fee (£5) to cover the costs and refreshments. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Rhiannon Daniels, Senior Lecturer in Italian at the University of Bristol. For more information, please visit editingcontexts.wordpress.com.