Ross and Salzman 2016

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Ross, Sarah C. E. And Paul Salzman. Editing Early Modern Women. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2016.

Introduction: Editing Early Modern Women, by Sarah Ross and Paul Salzman

1993, W. Speed Hill suggests project of feminist editing -- editing women's works -- was at odds with mainstream literary studies, because it focused on authors/intentions and at that time authors/intentions were out of fashion

"While theorists writing from inside the literary canon, then, were seeking to disestablish the category of the author, the feminist recuperation of previously unknown women writers was deeply invested in that very category." (2)

"there continue to be deep and productive tensions between the decentred treatment of authorship in much mainstream early modern editorial work, and the recovery of authors along with authorship that continues to be one prevailing motivation in much editorial work on early modern women writers. The unique temporalities of feminist and female-centred editing – its burgeoning at a point synchronous with historicist and textualist literary-critical movements; its (arguable) maturation in the age of digital editing – have generated unique challenges as well as unique solutions and methodologies that have the potential to speak back to the editorial mainstream." (2)

"How do we edit texts that have no editorial history, or whose editorial histories are concerned with oddity and exemplarity rather than canonicity? How do we edit texts that do not fit easily into conventional taxonomies of ‘literature’, and what contexts should we present for them? How can textual editing upset conventional hierarchies of literary value, while still finding a readership? And, as the print-based editing of both male- and female-authored texts is increasingly complemented or displaced by the electronic edition, how can digital methods of editing, archiving, and amassing early modern texts facilitate multiple editorial and literary-critical aims?" (3)

Editing/recovery of women's writing still attached to biographical exemplarity

19c anthologies, overlooked but "important exercises in recuperation and preservation" (4)

Late state of approaches to early modern women's writing: now see the scale of it, and the complexity of its production; women working as editors in the period"

Betty Travitsky: canon of early modern women's writing must be edited traditionally before it can be unedited and deconstructed

Moving away from intentionality and biography, but "the unshackling of 'life' from 'works' has a particular set of implications for women's texts"

Not just following a "transmission process" but forces "a reconceptualization of the nature of authorship and of authors' and texts' editorial prehistories" (8)

Aphra Behn and Margaret Cavendish now "illustrate how the process of what might be called editing from the margins has influenced the way that early modern women's writing has been transmitted in an economy which has valued authoritative editions produced by academic presses, however much that situation is now changing" (9) -- Behn's complete works have not been edited with the scholarly rigor of lesser male poets

Women so far are marginal in resurgence of "complete works" editing

"the authoritative editions marked by the treatment of Wroth, Hutchinson, and Cary create a more conventional hierarchy of authors than the experi-mental, anarchic proliferation of texts by early modern women that smaller presses and more experimental forms of editing allowed to flourish." (13)

Technology/digital humanities -- connected to early modern women's writing from an early stage

Susan Felch, The Backward Gaze

Editors need to be "custodians of the backward gaze"

authors are responding to the past, not what will happen in the future

Assumptions (often feminist) about what a text means or how gender operates in it are often more representative of present than past; women's roles were more varied and complex, their situations were gender-inflected but gender may not be the most important factor

Example of Elizabeth Tyrwhit's prayerbook; assumed the later versions represent men silencing women, when in fact later versions may be closer to original; here, religious difference may have been more significant than gender difference

Editorial principles on 30

Danielle Clarke, Producing Gender

"Like many of the texts of their male counterparts (dramatists especially), it is rare that a female-authored text is purely and simply that, which inevitably troubles questions of attribution in the first instance, and literary agency in the second." (40)

"an absence of witnesses does not necessarily imply a lack of versionality, but it does compromise evidence; questions of circulation and reception are often indeterminate; attribution may be uncertain; and agency is contingent and negotiable. 5" (41)

Mary Sidney as case study: both edited and was herself an editor -- understood in her complexity, she might allow us "to comprehend editing as a form of authorship, and authorship as a kind of editing. Or more radically, we might be able to see these activities as operating along a continuum of textual manipulation" (42)

Ramona Wray, Editing the Feminist Agenda

Cary's Tragedy of Mariam doesn't have a long editorial tradition; only edited recently

"A history of editing Cary is, in many ways, a history of feminist editorial practice; hence, her example serves to illustrate how thinking about the production and reprorudction of women's texts has shaped an important field." (62)

"The play gains in resonance and import when addressed in terms of its relations to other early modern plays in a variety of genres" (62)

"Editing Cary as an early modern dramatist rather than as a woman writer challenges separatism and permits the play to move inside a looser and less straitjacketed interpretive terrain. IT allows for a greater integration of the play into ongoing conversations." (75-6)