Synchrony and process: editing manuscript miscellanies

Gibson, Jonathan (2012). Synchrony and process: editing manuscript miscellanies. Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 (SEL), 52(1) pp. 85–100.



This essay argues that editors of informal early modern manuscript miscellanies should place greater emphasis on the discontinuities in miscellany construction. Manuscript miscellanies are often the products of discrete phases of composition, collection, and transcription, combining distinct thematic and generic sections in complex but analyzable ways, rather than authorially unified collections comparable to sonnet sequences. The argument is illustrated by an analysis of points at which Jean Klene’s Renaissance English Text Society edition of Anne Southwell’s miscellany (Folger Shakespeare MS V.b.198) elides textual discontinuity: at one point, for example, the edition fails to register the fact that a sheet has been bound in back to front. The essay concludes with some suggestions about ways in which future editions of manuscript miscellanies, both electronic and hard copy, might better reflect the complex structures of their copy texts.

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