Textual Studies and the Common Reader collects eleven original essays by editors of literary texts and theorists concerned about the implications of what such editors do. The volume's organizing theme is textual studies, the domain of which, in one contributor’s words, is the "genesis, transmission, and editing of texts."
The contributors seek to extend the discussion about textual studies beyond any narrow professional scope; thus, none of the essays assumes any training in textual studies. Also, the focus of the book is on the literary genre most familiar to most readers: the novel. Authors discussed include Willa Cather, Joseph Conrad, Theodore Dreiser, William Faulkner, D. H. Lawrence, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.
Many people read literary works, but few do so with a steady sense of their constructedness as texts--of the ways in which "genesis, transmission, and editing" have shaped them as conveyors of meaning. This book shows that the experience of reading is more rewarding for such awareness.
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Alexander Pettit is an associate professor of English at the University of North Texas. He is also the general editor of three series: The Works of Tobias Smollett (Georgia), British Ideas and Issues, 1660-1820, and Selected Works of Eliza Haywood.
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