Introducing Early Editions: Conversations with Emerging Researchers

In the absence of in-person conferences and networking opportunities due to COVID-19, SHARP News is pleased to present a new feature, Early Editions: Conversations with Emerging Researchers. Early Editions pairs an emerging researcher with an established SHARPist with similar interests and flips the script: through informal dialogue, the established scholar introduces the work and interests of the early-career researcher to the broader SHARP community. Our first conversation is between Joe Saunders, PhD student at the University of York, and Ian Gadd, Professor in English Literature at Bath Spa University.

Jonathan Senchyne. The Intimacy of Paper in Early and Nineteenth-Century American Literature

As the paper codex is becoming increasingly supplemented, if not yet entirely replaced, by digitally mediated textuality, Jonathan Senchyne redirects our attention to the specific sense of materiality that writers and readers experienced as characteristic of literary communication until the late nineteenth century. Rather than focusing on print or publication history as such, however, his monograph The Intimacy of Paper in Early and Nineteenth-Century American Literature sheds light on something that even book historians have often tended to pass over in silence: the reliance of print on paper, the inconspicuous matter on which letters become visible. Over the past fifteen years, several studies have begun to tackle the subject of paper from a range of different perspectives, among them Kevin McLaughlin’s Paperwork: Fiction and Mass Mediacy in the Paper Age (2005), Lisa Gitelman’s Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents (2014), or Maryanne Dever’s Paper, Materiality and the Archived Page (2019). What makes Senchyne’s contribution both distinctive and important is his literary-historical approach to reading paper in relation to the nature of its production.

Susan L. Greenberg. A Poetics of Editing

Whereas the author has received considered attention, the editor, it could be said, has not yet fully arrived. Indeed, the profession and practice of editing remain somewhat hazily defined. This elusiveness is due to numerous factors, such as lingering romantic views of authorship and creative inspiration, the subtle ways editing works behind the scenes to ensure and improve communication, and the lack of a comprehensive theory that encompasses all time periods and genres. The goal of Susan L. Greenberg’s A Poetics of Editing is to place editing squarely under the spotlight and uncover this ‘hidden art.’ Built on years of Greenberg’s personal experience overlaid with a scholarly perspective, it proposes a framework for joining together the practice and theory of editing that can cut across media forms and time periods.