The Study of Modern Manuscripts: Public, Confidential, and Private (The James P.R. Lyell lectures in bibliography for 1989)

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9780801845901: The Study of Modern Manuscripts: Public, Confidential, and Private (The James P.R. Lyell lectures in bibliography for 1989)
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Perhaps no question is more fundamental to the discussion of a written work than that of the provenance and authority of the manuscript on which it is based. In The Study of Modern Manuscripts eminent scholar Donald H. Reiman draws on thirty years of experience in editing the manuscripts of Shelley, Byron, and others to offer new insights into the scholarly use and analysis of postmedieval manuscripts.

Reiman begins by distinguishing among the manuscript traditions of the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and Romantic periods. He then sketches the historical developments that influenced both the changing nature of surviving manuscripts and the growth of interest in preserving the manuscript record. Over the course of the book's next four chapters he discusses in detail the nature and function of three classes of manuscript--the "private" or personal, the "confidential" or corporate, and the "public."

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"A candidly clever book, replete with objective citation to cover subjective conclusion. Reiman moves from bibliographical knowledge to textual implication with ease." -- Nineteenth-Century Literature

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In this text, the author draws on 30 years of experience in editing the manuscripts of Shelley, Byron and others to offer insights into the scholarly use and analysis of post-medieval manuscripts. Reiman begins by distinguishing among the manuscript traditions of the Renaissance, Enlightenment and Romantic periods. He then sketches the historical developments that influenced both the changing nature of surviving manuscripts and the growth of interest in preserving the manuscript record. Over the course of the book's next four chapters, he discusses the nature and function of three classes of manuscript - the "private" or personal, the "confidential" or corporate, and the "public". Citing a variety of examples from both published and unpublished sources, Reiman shows how past failures to distinguish among these three classes of manuscripts have misled editors and critics alike. In the course of the discussion, he engages such issues as the relative authority of manuscripts and first editions; Paul de Man's reading of Shelley's "The Triumph of Life"; and the practice of substituting rejected early texts of Wordsworth's poems for the versions approved by the author.

In the final chapter, he outlines a "personalist poetics" designed to counter the "sterile abstractions" that have come to dominate much theoretical debate on poetry and fiction. Donald H. Reiman is co-editor of "Shelley and his Circle" and of "The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley". He is the author or editor of more than 150 volumes on Shelley and the English Romantics, including "Shelley's 'The Triumph of Life' - a Critical Study", "Percy Bysshe Shelley - the Romantics Revived" and "Shelley's Poetry and Prose - a Norton Critical Edition".

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