EdRLS

The New Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson

Meeting of Scott, Burns and Stevenson editors

with one comment

Last Saturday saw a meeting of all the editors of the major Scottish Literature Editions (Scott, Burns and Stevenson). The workshop, at the University of Glasgow, was sponsored by the Carnegie Trust and organised by Alison Lumsden (General Editor of Scott’s Poetry) and Gerry Caruthers (General Editor of the Oxford Burns). Regular meetings like this one help us to share ideas about the theory and practice of scholarly editing, to pass on practical help and hints, and to reflect on our own progress. From the Stevenson edition, Penny Fielding spoke about the need to see every volume as a separate case to be considered in the light of our editorial policy. Volumes like The Amateur Emigrant pose the difficult question of whether to publish the last version (which appeared after Stevenson’s death, a long time after the initial creative process) or to use the manuscript, proofs, and magazine versions to think through the original state of the text.

Essays editor Alex Thomson joined Gill Hughes and Murray Pittock for a panel on literary uses of Scots. He pointed out that unlike in his poetry, fiction and letters, Stevenson only uses English for his essays, thus raising little by way of specifically editorial problems relating to the use of Scots. However, the variable use of the term ‘Scotch’ itself, in the original magazine versions of some essays, in the 1887 edition of Memories and Portraits and in its 1894 republication as part of the Edinburgh Edition, could be used to illustrate the interest of the essays as a literary genre.

Further updates will follow from our editorial workshops in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. EdRLS warmly thanks Alison Lumsden for putting the programme together.

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Written by pennyfielding

28/11/2010 at 2:34 pm

One Response

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  1. RLS doesn’t use Scots in essays as he is able to do in verse and fictional dialogue – but the Essay editors have been logging his use of Scots/Scottish English words as we work through the essays in the discussion group. These are probably unconscious uses and come up with a certain regularity.

    As for ‘Scots/Scottish’ vs ‘Scotch’, we’ve seen that Colvin seems to change the latter to the former in the Edinburgh Edition (‘An Old Scotch Gardener’ becomes ‘An Old Scots Gardener’).

    RLS seems to use ‘Scotch’ as a general rule (except when writing in Scots). Although this form has been eliminated (except for whisky) as Southern, it seems that (for a certain period) ‘Scotch’ came to be felt as more Scottish (despite its origins) and more colloquial. There’s a nice 1943 quote about this in the OED (“We always looked on Scottish as rather affected, overly poetic”).

    Richard

    29/11/2010 at 6:18 am


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