Monday, July 13, 2009

Calling all unsatisfied readers:

A brilliant former student of mine is considering this program at Boston University. This program's dissertation is a scholarly edition of some text or texts, complete with all the requisite scholarly apparatus. As my student ponders this career path, she has started to think about what KIND of project she'd be interested in doing, reflecting on a number of early-moderny writings that need good editing or re-editing.

I quote from my brilliant former student:

"They don't necessarily have to be literary folks--they can be historical figures, theologians, etc., etc. Is there a collection of Renaissance documents that doesn't exist that you wish did? Or some work that is currently presented in an edition that is crummy or incomplete or really out of date or unsatisfactory in some other significant way?"

And so, on her behalf, I turn the question over to you, reliable and smart readers: is there an edition/collection that you wish existed?


Fie upon this quiet life! said...

It would be nice to have a multi-volume set of all Renaissance drama besides Shakespeare. This probably exists, and I just don't know about it. I know it would be a huge collection, but it would be great to have a complete, extant collection of Ren. drama.

Moria said...

I agree with Fie that there's a lot to be done in Ren. drama, but since so many of the plays already exist in acceptable, if not fine, editions, I tend not to ask for them. (Not that we can't do way better.)

The prose works of Robert Southwell! How did you know I would say this? I'd like one day to do Mary Magdalen, but if someone else gets there first I'll be equally happy to read it.

It would also be nice to have a dumbed-down version of the Yale CW of Thomas More - aside from the Utopia, virtually none of his works are available in affordable editions. Smallish paperbacks would be great.

If she for some reason jumps ship to the nineteenth century: there is no complete edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (wtf).

I'll keep thinking.

Doctor Cleveland said...

Marlowe's Dido and The Massacre at Paris need scholarly editions.

Lots of prose narrative could use scholarly editions, and some of that stuff is wonderful. A genuine critical edition of The Unfortunate Traveler would be terrific.

Flavia said...

Lots of Civil War-era political tracts--John Lilburne, for example, but there are tons of semi-important preachers and polemicists one might choose. (I'm always irritated that none of the antiprelatical tracts Milton was engaging with are in print, but that's probably a seriously niche market. Ditto with the Oath of Allegiance controversy earlier in the century.)

I don't think a complete works of James II exists, and I haven't found a good edition of any of James I's works, though many of them are available in cheap and minimally-edited editions. And I don't think anything by Robert Parsons exists except in facsimile.

Okay: basically? Religious/political prose.

Polvo said...

There's no good modern scholarly complete works of William Drummond - the best edition of the poetry dates from 1913, and has to be supplemented with the !711 Works. This my dream project for one day, but realistically I'm not sure I'd have the skills required. Might be worth a look.

Renaissance Girl said...

Thanks, everyone. Let me know if you think of others. And welcome, Polvo! Nice to have you along.

Patrick Hart said...

Thanks Ren Girl! And thanks for the comment on my blog (the first!) - I wrote a long(ish) reply and then lost it, but shall try to rewrite it. Obviously it will never be as sparkling and witty the second time around...

As for your ex grad student, the Drummond really needs doing. Given the way recent research has been going (growing interest in 'the British problem', for example) a good edition of the Poems 1616 would be very timely, and reasonably do-able. I'd be happy to chat about it with him/her if they're interested.

As you are a self-confessed Renaissance Girl, can I take the chance to plug the Journal of the Northern Renaissance (, which I edit? Hope you might find something of interest there....