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Walt Whitman's Civil War Writings
Kenneth Price, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=RQ-50338-08
"Civil War Washington, the Walt Whitman Archive, and Some Present Editorial Challenges and Future Possibilities" (Article)
Title: "Civil War Washington, the Walt Whitman Archive, and Some Present Editorial Challenges and Future Possibilities"
Author: Kenneth M. Price
Abstract: The theoretical possibilities of digital scholarship oblige us to boldness—we ought to see our current circumstances, when electronic scholarship is still nascent and the boundaries are still capable of being moved, as an invitation to push those boundaries. More than most types of humanistic study, editing has been significantly affected by the digital turn, though perhaps even editing has not been sufficiently altered. The monumental scholarly edition, our marvelous inheritance from print culture, still tends to focus on individual figures. Generally speaking, editing work in American literary and historical studies focuses on canonical writers and political leaders—that is, on white male writers and the founding fathers and other prominent political figures. Yet these emphases run counter to an ongoing revisionist trend in both fields—in literary studies the standing of the author has been questioned, cultural studies has flourished, and the canon has dramatically expanded, while in history a bottom-up view of change and significance has led in recent decades to an emphasis on social history (and of course a de-emphasis on "great men"). A focus on individual writers or political figures need hardly be the focus of editorial efforts, of course. Electronic editing would, in fact, be more congruent with recent developments in the humanities disciplines generally if it were to evolve away from solely writer-based approaches to accommodate topic-based approaches that employ a tightly integrated combination of editing, collecting, interpreting, and tool building.
Primary URL: http://whitmanarchive.org/about/articles/anc.00550.html
Access Model: open access
Periodical Title: Jerome McGann, ed., Online Humanities Scholarship: The Shape of Things to Come (Houston: Rice University Press, 2010), 287-309.
Publisher: Rice University Press