- Studies in Bibliography, Volume 54
This volume is a fascinating survey of problems of authorship, authenticity, and attribution and the conflicts that arise between "new" (i.e., electronic or computer assisted) and "old" (i.e., textual and stylistic) methods of describing and solving textual critical issues for historical materials. It opens with G. Thomas Tanselle's "Textual Criticism at the Millennium," an exhaustive overview of the field in the 1990s, including relevant interdisciplinary work. The viewpoints, approaches, and weaknesses of each piece are thoroughly described and documented. Tanselle is at times scathing in his discussion, especially toward pieces that fail to differentiate between the tools of analytical bibliography and textual criticism, which uses those tools.
James McLaverty provides a pleasant reminiscence of the life and work of David Foxon, the bibliographer responsible for the indispensable English Verse, 1701–1750, along with a bibliography of Foxon's publications.
Michael Hancher applies William Blackstone's legal criteria for written text—durability and security, as embodied in paper and parchment—to the digital world, noting the new necessity of trusting "experts" in the digital realm to determine textual tampering, a task that Hancher argues does not necessarily require experts in physical formats. Hancher's essay is paired with a response by Tanselle. Tanselle's "Thoughts on the Authenticity of Electronic Texts" rebuts Hancher's conclusions point by point.
P. J. Klemp's "Andrewes's Lost Whit-Sunday Sermon" uses a close examination of the diary of John Manningham to help reconstruct the text of a lost 1602 sermon by Lancelot Andrewes, then dean of Westminster.
Jill Farringdon provides a more quantitative addition to the discussion on attribution and authenticity in her article "A Funerall Elegye . . . Not . . . By W.S. after All," discussing the scholarly battle between Donald Foster and Brian Vickers over attributions of A Funerall Elegye In Memory of the Late Virtuous Master William Peter of Whipton near Exeter, first to Shakespeare and now to John Ford, respectively. Farringdon provides an alternative method of attribution, "a non-literary technique of language analysis" called "cusum " (cumulative sum) analysis, a scientifically repeatable, quantitative linguistic forensic tool that, she claims, could have avoided the scholarly scuffle altogether by proving conclusively Shakespeare's lack of involvement with the Elegye (158). She then goes on to demonstrate the analysis using passages from The Tempest, The Rape of Lucrece, and Venus and Adonis as points of comparison to the Elegye, providing graphical proof of Ford's authorship. This scientific analysis is paired with Martin C. Battestin's "Fielding's Contributions to The Comedian (1732)," which argues for Fielding's attribution to the poem "An [End Page 520] Epistle to Mr. Ellys the Painter" using traditional bibliographical methods based upon historical evidence and literary style.
William McCarthy asks, "What Did Anna Barbauld Do to Samuel Richardson's Correspondence?" As Barbauld's biographer he answers through his careful examination and interpretation of the Forster MSS and the Dyce Letters at the Victoria and Albert Museum, separating out Barbauld's markings from those of Richardson, his copyists, and the editorial interventions of Richard Phillips, the owner of the manuscripts and the publisher of the correspondence (and his compositors). McCarthy also posits the former existence of additional copies of some correspondence, edited by Richardson, many of which provide conflations of letters previously attributed to Barbauld.
Marcus Walsh lauds Edward Capell's editorial practices on the works of Shakespeare in "Form and Function in the English Eighteenth-Century Literary Edition: The Case of Edward Capell," discussing the formatting of Capell's editions of Shakespeare in relation to Capell's editorial strategies. R. Carter Hailey sketches more Shakespearean editorial history with his 'This Instance Will Not Do': George Steevens, Shakespeare, and the Revision(s) of Johnson's Dictionary." Hailey argues that Steevens "played a much more active role in the revision of the Dictionary than has hitherto been suspected," exhaustively supporting his assertion that Steevens continued working on the Dictionary well after Johnson's death (245).
Pamela Clemit and David Wools provide attribution...