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English Students Shine at Editing Colloquium

On Friday, April 4, several fourth-year English students gathered together with faculty members, in the junior common room at Traill College, to make presentations about editing work explored during the 2002/03 academic year.

Professors Leonard Conolly and Sarah Keefer, who teach English 431 and 450, organized the colloquium to give students the opportunity to share their research with others. As well, the colloquium provided a venue for highlighting the excellent and innovative editing work being done in both courses.

"The bottom line is how can I reach a fuller understanding and appreciation of the text. That is the role of an editor or director," Prof. Conolly explained to colloquium participants on April 4. "Reading, for most of us, is a fairly superficial experience. We gloss over many references and allusions. As readers, we don’t have the time to do the research required for a full understanding of the text. We need editors to do this, for ancient texts as well as modern text."

Students in English 431 and 450 have tackled intensive editing projects this year, and presentations at the colloquium revealed the high calibre of research techniques employed at all levels. Topics were diverse and included subjects such as:

  • "Peering through the Beer-Stains: fol.8 recto of the Exeter Book" by Mark Donnan
  • "The Band-aid makes the Boo-boo: Editing Damaged Text" by John Bianco
  • "Annotating the Text I: Shaw’s Major Barbara" by Patty Freeman
  • "Annotating the Text II: Miller’s Death of a Salesman" by Kate Armitage
  • "Emendation and the Problem of Fidelity" by Adam Leverton
  • "Editor = Author? The Responsibilities of Editing an Old English Text" by Sarah Miller
  • "Contexts for Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest" by Matt Griffis
  • "Contexts for Sky Gilbert’s Drag Queens" by Erin Lake

"A director or editor needs to know the text inside out," emphasized Prof. Conolly. "Directors give to shape to a play, like a critical introduction to a text. They shape the reader’s and audience’s understanding."

Both Prof. Conolly and Prof. Keefer feel this type of critical work is advanced for undergraduate students, and are pleased their students have been able to rise to the challenge successfully and enthusiastically.

Photo: Student Mark Donnan was one fourth-year English student to participate in an April 4th editing colloquium.

Posted April 8, 2003

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Last updated April 23, 2003