Unlike many modern editions of classic novels, the Harvard Annotated Editions take their cue from models such as The Arden Shakespeare, The Longman Annotated English Poets, and Martin Gardner’s annotated edition of Lewis Carroll – all editions that feature significant original research. The text itself is based on a freshly generated and corrected copy-text, the result of collating different copies of the first edition in the Bodleian Library and elsewhere. Another result of this greater scholarly emphasis is that Emma: An Annotated Edition contains, in addition to an introduction of 10,000 words or so, some 50,000 words of marginal annotation. This means that, where appropriate, individual notes of anything up to 2,000 words at a time can provide small essays that contextualize particular details from the text with extensive reference to larger literary, cultural, and intellectual circumstances. For example, when Vicesimus Knox’s Elegant Extracts is mentioned in Vol. 1 of the novel, the availability of space allows for an extensive note which places Austen’s allusion in a much larger context of contemporary debates about popular literacy and women’s education. Likewise, the annotations connect the novel’s tiny allusions to the broader historical narratives which Austen’s fiction has sometimes been accused of ignoring. Many of the annotations and illustrations are based on new and extensive contextual research that has never appeared in an Austen edition before: examples include contemporary medical treatises on fevers and sea-bathing, contemporary poems on crop rotation and the resort of Southend-on-Sea, the social history of monastic fisheries, ‘Situations Vacant’ advertisements that are coeval with the novel’s imagined time-line, and the first ever colour reproduction of one of the few known contemporary images of a barouche-landau.
|Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press
|Number of pages
|Published - Sep 2012