The Edition as Argument, 1550-1750

16-17 July 2014, Queen Mary University of London

From the philology of Lorenzo Valla to twentieth-century debates over copy-text to the new frontier of digital humanities, textual scholars have always argued over the making of meaning. Indeed, argument is integral to the practice of editing: to privilege one reading is to demote another. Bibliographical, historical, and textual choices: these ineluctably and often invisibly inform our larger understanding of the text, the author, and the culture from which they emerge. They can destabilise or confirm our most basic assumptions, from a single word – what is "blew"? – to the nature of the book: what is a text? what is an author? what is an edition?

This landmark two-day conference will draw together experienced and new editors, to analyse and to celebrate editions in progress and to inspire a new generation of editors and editions. Hosted by the AHRC-funded Complete Works of Sir Thomas Browne (forthcoming, OUP), the event will explore the future of editing in universities and offer perspectives from curators and publishers. Confirmed speakers include Cathy Shrank, Leah Marcus, Jessica Wolfe, David Colclough, Kate Bennett, Christopher Burlinson, Daniel Carey, Richard Serjeantson, Alice Eardley, Valerie Rumbold, Nicholas McDowell, and Henry Woudhuysen.

2 days £85/£65 (postgraduate students/unwaged)
1 day £43/£33 (postgraduate students/unwaged)

This includes tea/coffee, lunch on both days and a drinks reception on the evening of Wednesday 16th July. There will also be a conference dinner, charged separately.

Book your place at here.  If you have any questions, please contact or


Day 1

8.45-9.15 Registration

9.15-9.30 Welcome

9.30-10.30 Keynote 1 Professor Cathy Shrank (University of Sheffield)

10.30-10.45 BREAK

10.45-12.30 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'

12.30-13.30 LUNCH

13.30-15.00 Panel 2
  • Kate Bennett, (University of Oxford), '"My original minutes": Editing Aubrey's Brief Lives'
  • Ruth Connolly (University of Newcastle), 'Agency versus Authority: Editing Herrick's poems from print and manuscript'
  • Tom Charlton (University of Stirling), 'A faith 'kindled' or 'sharpened'? Editing Richard Baxter's life'

15.00-15.15 BREAK

15.15-17.00 Panel 3
  • Megan Heffernan (DePaul University), 'Elizabethan Metaphors, Victorian Miscellanies: Editing Sixteenth-Century Poetry Collections'
  • 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'




9.00-10.45 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)'
  • David Atkinson, 'Editing without Authority: Representing the Ephemeral in a Folklore Collection'
  • 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'

10.45-11.00 BREAK

11.00-12.30 Panel 5
  • Alice Eardley (University of Southampton), 'Making the "Unreadable" Readable: A Digital Edition of Henry Cogan's Translation of Madeleine de Scudéry's Ibrahim (1652)'
  • 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'

12.30-13.15 LUNCH

13.15-14.45 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'

14.45-15.00 BREAK

15.00-16.00 Roundtable: Pitching and planning an edition

16.00-17.00 Keynote 2 Professor Henry Woudhuysen (University of Oxford)