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

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Talk on scholarly editing at the National Library of Scotland, 9 Nov 2011

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Textual Editing in Principle and Practice: What Are You Reading? Lecture 2

Dr Alison Lumsden (University of Aberdeen) and Dr Anthony Mandal (Cardiff University)

National Library of Scotland, 9 November 2011, 6pm (free)

Why should you buy a book for £6.99 when you might have the same title for 1.99? Is it just the price? The quality of the paper and cover? Or might the text itself—the words you’ll be reading—be different?

Why does a research library like the NLS hold so many copies of the same title? What difference does it make to read one copy rather than another? Why are so many books even needed?

The books that we buy in bookshops or read in libraries may have the same titles, but they are often very different—they may contain different words; sometimes a crucial scene or even the ending may vary. Some editions will alert the reader to these differences—others will just print the most easily available text. In this series we will look at some famous examples of texts which have more than one version, and guide you through the choices editors make in order to produce a text for the informed reader.

In this lecture, the second of the series, scholars working on major editions of key Scottish authors will explore how modern editors set about producing an edited text. What are the principles we adhere to? What is the evidence that counts in valuing one state of the text over another? Should we prefer the author’s first or last version? How should we treat the author’s original manuscript? In the second part of the talk we will demonstrate the process of editing, in particular how we can benefit from the latest technological advances.

  • Why we edit books. Dr Alison Lumsden (Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels)
  • How we edit books. Dr Anthony Mandal (New Edinburgh Edition of Robert Louis Stevenson)

Part of the ‘What Are You Reading’ series of lectures and workshops. For more information download the ‘What Are You Reading’ information sheet PDF (122 KB, 2 pages).

Please book your tickets online or call the NLS directly on 0131 623 3918.

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Written by Anthony Mandal

07/11/2011 at 5:20 am

An editor’s trinity: Oxford Writers’ Reference « Cardiff Book History

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Having done a fair bit of editing over the last decade, of myself, of others’ contributions and of scholarly editions, it was with unalloyed delight that I recently discovered a trio of invaluable reference books that make the job of handling scholarly writing a great deal easier. These three works—New Hart’s Rules, the New Oxford Spelling Dictionary and the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors—are an absolute treasure trove of useful pointers, guidelines and clarifications. Quite a few years ago, I had already encountered the Dictionary for Writers and Editors in an earlier incarnation, and it had served me well as a trustworthy companion in my various encounters with academic prose.

This new set of three books, first published in 2005, represent a leap forward from these beginnings. Each of the volumes complements the others perfectly, so that writers and editors have at their disposal a plethora of abbreviations, tips on style and disambiguations of the most troublesome spellings. Moreover, considering that so much information is packed into each book, they are uniformly formatted to a handy ‘pocket’ size (roughly, 18cm x 12cm), and are minimalistically but elegantly packaged. published by such an august firm as OUP, each of the volumes has also received the seal of recommendation from the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. All three books can be purchased individually or as part of a set (as The Oxford Writers’ Reference Pack) for about £30 online.

Read more at the Cardiff Book History blog.

Written by Anthony Mandal

16/11/2010 at 10:17 am