Making the Archives Talk: New and Selected Essays in Bibliography, Editing, and Book History

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Making the Archives Talk is a collection of twelve essays by editor, biographer, bibliographer, and book historian James L. W. West III. In these essays, West sets forth his views of editorial theory, archival use, textual emendation, and scholarly annotation. He has published editions of major writings by Theodore Dreiser, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Styron. Drawing on these editions for examples, West defends intentionalist editing and the eclectic emendation of texts. He discusses the treatment of both public documents (novels, stories, and nonfiction) and private texts (letters, diaries, journals, and working papers). Highlights of the collection include The Scholarly Editor as Biographer, Editorial Theory and the Act of Submission, Double Quotes and Double Meanings in Jennie Gerhardt, Annotating Mr. Fitzgerald, and The End Is Near. Two of the essays, Toxic Words and the Editor and Keeper of the Flame: Editing the Literary Remains of William Styron, are previously unpublished.