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Theory of Texts

Jerome McGann, 18 February 1988

Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts: The Panizzi Lectures 1985 
by D.F. McKenzie.
British Library, 80 pp., £10, December 1986, 0 7123 0085 6
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... work in bibliography and textual criticism (properly so-called) during this century. McKenzie has Fredson Bowers particularly in mind here, whose position – that ‘historical bibliography is not, properly speaking, bibliography at all’ – McKenzie stands opposed to. In the course of McKenzie’s critique, however, he glances at the larger issues ...

Do, Not, Love, Make, Beds

David Wheatley: Irish literary magazines, 3 June 2004

Irish Literary Magazines: An Outline History and Descriptive Bibliography 
Irish Academic, 318 pp., £35, January 2003, 0 7165 2751 0Show More
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... himself on the headline ‘Ithacans Vow Pen Is Champ’. In his delightful essay-length book, Fredson Bowers & The Irish Wolfhound,* J.C.C. Mays draws attention to the centrality of the parergon or ‘by-work’ in the Irish tradition: the circumstantial accidents of textual presentation often dictate ‘how meaning is realised – ceases to be inert ...

Long live the codex

John Sutherland: The future of books, 5 July 2001

Book Business: Publishing Past, Present and Future 
by Jason Epstein.
Norton, 188 pp., £16.95, March 2001, 0 393 04984 1
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... MLA) give up its footling attempts to produce definitive texts of the sort that would satisfy Fredson Bowers and aim instead for popular texts, with less scholarly apparatus, emulating the Pléiade library. Epstein ‘arranged the details of design, format, production and distribution as well as the financial structure’ of the Library of ...

Copying the coyote

Richard Poirier, 18 October 1984

The Principles of Psychology 
by William James, introduced by George Miller.
Harvard, 1302 pp., £14.95, December 1983, 0 674 70625 0
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A Stroll with William James 
by Jacques Barzun.
Chicago, 344 pp., £16, October 1983, 0 226 03865 3
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Becoming William James 
by Howard Feinstein.
Cornell, 377 pp., $24.95, May 1984, 0 8014 1617 5
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Essays in Psychology 
by William James, edited by Frederick Burkhardt and Fredson Bowers.
Harvard, 467 pp., £32, April 1984, 0 674 26714 1
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... of being published by Harvard University Press under the editorship of Frederick Burkhardt and Fredson Bowers. Filled with his affectionate concreteness, and often solicitously conversational in tone, the philosophical essays are meant to be anti-intellectualist, in so far as ‘intellectualism’, a term he uses with some of the pejorative ...

Modern Shakespeare

Graham Bradshaw, 21 April 1983

The Taming of the Shrew 
edited by H.J. Oliver.
Oxford, 248 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812907 6
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Henry V 
edited by Gary Taylor.
Oxford, 330 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812912 2
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Troilus and Cressida 
edited by Kenneth Muir.
Oxford, 205 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812903 3
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Troilus and Cressida 
edited by Kenneth Palmer.
Methuen, 337 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 0 416 47680 5
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... other critical editions? The fundamental, and traditionally accepted, principle was well stated by Fredson Bowers: ‘In all cases when a definitive edition is proposed for a dramatist, or other author, of no matter what century, we should insist a. that it be critically edited, and b. that in its texture of accidentals, as well as in its words, it ...

How do you spell Shakespeare?

Frank Kermode, 21 May 1987

William Shakespeare. The Complete Works: Original-Spelling Edition 
edited by Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor.
Oxford, 1456 pp., £75, February 1987, 9780198129196
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William Shakespeare: The Complete Works 
edited by Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor.
Oxford, 1432 pp., £25, October 1986, 0 19 812926 2
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... without modern editorial interferences except for line numbers, should look there. In 1965 Fredson Bowers, who more or less inherited Greg’s authority, took a look at the problem in the light of the enormous recent expansion of bibliographical techniques, in part at least brought on by himself. Though he did not deny that an original-spelling ...

What Marlowe would have wanted

Charles Nicholl, 26 November 1987

Faustus and the Censor 
by William Empson, edited by John Henry Jones.
Blackwell, 226 pp., £17.50, September 1987, 0 631 15675 5
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... about the play, based largely on the studies of Leo Kirschbaum (1946), W.W. Greg (1950) and Fredson Bowers (1973). But a consensus is not necessarily the truth, and any serious attempt to tackle anew the textual problems of Faustus is to be welcomed. When the tackling is done by that great and maverick scholar William Empson, it is even more ...

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