English 601Seminar in Scholarly Methods and Bibliography
Dr. Michael Bryson
Sierra Tower 832
818-677-5695
michael.bryson@csun.edu
 

Texts

Required:

  1. R.G. Moyles, The Text of Paradise Lost: A Study in Editorial Procedure. University of Toronto Press, 1985. ISBN: 0802056342
  2. James L. Harner, Literary Research Guide: An Annotated Listing of Reference Sources in English Literary Studies. Modern Language Association of America; 5th edition, 2008. ISBN: 0873528085
  3. William Proctor Williams, An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies. Modern Language Association of America; 3rd edition (September, 1999). ISBN: 0873522680

Assignments
1)
A group presentation (with written description of process, copied for each member of the class)
2) A simple text location assignment
3-4) Two individual presentations (with an outline of major points and a written description of process, copied for each member of the class)
5)
Working bibliography and research plan/question in area of interest.

Weekly Preview

Week 1 (1/26)—Introductions, purposes of the course.

Week 2 (2/2)—Bibliographical and Textual Studies, types and importance. Williams, Chaps. 1-5. Formation of research groups. Assignment (individual--no presentation): find the most recent issue of PMLA (Publications of the Modern Language Association of America); once located, find, photocopy, and read the essay "Breaking the Book Known as Q." That will form part of our discussion for next week.

Week 3 (2/9)—Discussion of PMLA article.

Week 4 (2/16)Presentation (group 1): find a copy of the 1667 Paradise Lost (print and online), as well as a copy of the 1674 edition (not a modern edition based thereon, but an actual copy of the 1674). Bring in a copies of the title pages and the first page or two of Book 1 for each as part of a presentation on the differences between 1667 and 1674 editions. Describe your process for locating this material. Presentation (group 2): find copies of as many modern (post-1900) editions of Paradise Lost and/or Milton as you can, preparing a presentation on the textual apparatus each edition provides as well as comparisons between the respective editions' approaches to footnotes/endnotes (glosses to obscure allusions, interpretive/editorial notes, etc.), and such issues as spelling (modernization?) and punctuation.

Week 5 (2/23)—Moyles, Chaps. 1-6. Discussion of the role(s) of an editor (Bentley, Hughes, Shawcross, Orgel, Flannagan, Teskey, Leonard, etc.). Discussion of scholarly resources in 17th-century English literature, and differences between scholarship and criticism (plus a discussion of their mutual dependence).

Week 6 (3/1)Presentations (groups 3, 4, and 5): Research the textual/editorial history of one of the following works: Hamlet, Doctor Faustus, King Lear.

Week 7 (3/8)Presentation (individual): Find, read, and prepare a summary of a document from the 17th century which deals with the idea of atheism (a controversial term even then--perhaps especially then). Describe your process for locating this material.

Week 8 (3/15)—Presentations, continued.

Week 9 (3/22)—Journal articles. Sample articles on Milton from Milton Quarterly, Milton Studies, PMLA, ELH, SEL, etc. Assignment (individual): find, read, and prepare a summary and critique of an article—questions to include: what is the argument/position, what is the main body of evidence offered (historical analysis, lit theory of some kind, etc.), and what is the relation of this work to its larger field (who does it cite, and with whom is it agreeing/disagreeing)?

Week 10 (3/29)—Articles, continued.

Week 11 Spring Break

Week 12 (4/12)—No class. Assignment (individual): find, read, and prepare a summary and critique of a book (essentially, your own book review)—questions to include: what is the argument/position, what is the main body of evidence offered (historical analysis, lit theory of some kind, etc.), and what is the relation of this work to its larger field (whose work does it cite, with whom is it agreeing/disagreeing, and what is the place of this work in the larger conversations/arguments about the author/work/field/period)? (A sampling of books in the field—old and new include such authors as Saurat, Lewis, Waldock. Empson, Fish, Danielson, Lieb, Wittreich, Schwartz, Loewenstein, Rumrich, Herman, etc.)

Week 13 (4/19)—Presentations on Books.

Week 14 (4/26)—Presentations on Books, continued.

Week 15 (5/3)—Books, continued.

Week 16 (5/10)—No class. Research in Area of Interest. Work on Final Assignment:

  1. Do some research on CSUN/UCLA/USC profs in your area of interest, at least one from each institution—identify their specialties, publications, etc. When you find publications, try to locate copies and look at the bibliographies and indexes. Who are these authors citing? Whose work are they reading? You can learn much by tracing the paths of previous researchers/writers. Now, branch out beyond the local—look for scholars in your area of interest at universities around the country (some of the usual suspects might include Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, U. Chicago, Northwestern, UC Berkeley, etc.). After the US comes the world: what are UK scholars in your area of interest publishing? If you speak/read another European language (or a non-European language), check publications in those languages as well...
  2. This should lead to the formation of a working bibliography for your area of interest. Questions to ask along the way include: who are the major academic authors in this field, what are the dominant theoretical positions/arguments, what are the major questions being asked in recent work about significant authors/works in the period, what are the major journals that focus on (or at least provide occasional-to-significant coverage of) the period/field, what are the best research tools/sources for contemporary/historical material.
  3. The goal is the formation of a research question within your area of interest. The question and working bibliography are due 5 PM on Friday, May 20th, and must be submitted via email attachment.