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Scholarly Editing

The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing

2014, Volume 35


Editors' Introduction to the 2014 Issue of Scholarly Editing: The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing

The 2014 issue of Scholarly Editing: The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing includes four editions that evidence the scope and complexity of digital editing.

Clayton McCarl's edition, "Avisos a pretendientes para Indias (Warnings to Those Seeking Office in the Indies)," is the first edition in a language other than English that Scholarly Editing has published. This edition provides an informative historical introduction explaining the political context of the edited text, a letter from Francisco de Seyxas y Lovera, a politician and malcontent, to a friend in Europe, apprising him of the difficulties Spanish men faced in securing positions in the New World. The letter details day-to-day difficulties as well as concerns about maintaining social hierarchy and religious control in Spanish colonies. McCarl has edited the text from the manuscript and provides original Spanish, modernized Spanish, and English versions. We are pleased to offer this thorough example of multilingual historical editing.

Christopher M. Ohge has contributed "'Lest we get too transcendental': Christopher Pearce Cranch's Changes of Mind in 'Journal. 1839.'" This edition offers overdue insight into a neglected figure in American transcendentalism, Christopher Cranch, who is perhaps best known today for his satirical sketch of Emerson's "transparent eye-ball." Ohge provides a thorough introduction and explanatory notes for Cranch's journal, which traces his private transformation from a Unitarian into a transcendentalist, placing the work in the context of American religious and literary history. Ohge's careful editorial work faithfully follows the journal manuscript and includes extensive annotations to help readers understand this intriguing text.

"Comparing Marks: A Versioning Edition of Virginia Woolf's 'The Mark on the Wall,'" edited by Emily McGinn, Amy Leggette, Matthew Hannah, and Paul Bellew, offers six versions of the first work Woolf published through her Hogarth Press. The editors consider the story in the various publication contexts authorized by Woolf, examining Woolf's evolving relationship to editing, printing, and publishing and its consequences to her own writing. The edition provides an informative introduction explaining Woolf's career in the context of her work as a hobbyist printer who turned professional and makes the case that her experience physically typesetting works for the Hogarth Press influenced the development of her literary creations.

Amy Earhart's edition, "Alex Haley's 'The Malcolm X I Knew' and Notecards from The Autobiography of Malcolm X," treats two source materials: an essay Haley published on Malcolm X for a men's pulp magazine, and a cache of notecards containing his jottings toward The Autobiography of Malcolm X. By examining work by an author who is both contemporary and African American, the edition helps fill two lacunae in digital literary scholarship. Like the Woolf edition, this edition of Haley materials is concerned with understanding the material and social conditions in which the author was writing and publishing.

We also offer two essays, "Digital Documentary Editions and the Others" by Elena Pierazzo examines how the rise of digital documentary editions presents challenges to digital textual studies, and suggests reasons why alternatives to documentary editing have been slow to catch on in the digital environment. "This Editing Life: The Joys and Imperatives of Documentary Editing," by 2013 ADE President Phil Chase, is a moving meditation on the personal and professional value of documentary editing. And, as always, we include reviews of new publications and the annual list of newly published documentary editions, compiled by W. Bland Whitley.

The range and high quality of the content, we think, is a testimony to the scholarly richness inherent in excellent edition making. Furthermore, the diversity of content and approaches—from twentieth-century African American literature to sixteenth-century Spanish history, from a fluid text edition of a short story to a highly annotated presentation of a manuscript journal—demonstrates the way scholarly editing can inform and influence a wide variety of fields.