Editorial Networks in Practice: Early-Modern Style Guides and the Editing of Piers Plowman
(Addendum to the Annual Bibliography for 2015.) In early modern England, manuals or grammars like Joseph Moxon’s Mechanick Exercises (1683) and John Smith’s Printer’s Grammar (1755) provided printers and editors with a consistent set of editorial standards. The editorial standards provided in Caleb Stower’s Printer’s Grammar, written and printed in 1808, which reproduce and build on the editorial legacies of Moxon and Smith, were commonplace in the nineteenth century and undoubtedly informed Thomas Whitaker’s editorial decisions and presentation of his 1813 edition of PPl. Through a comparative textual analysis, specifically examining first Whitaker’s usage of blackletter and red ink and then his punctuation style in his commentary, or ‘paraphrasing’, this essay demonstrates how Whitaker’s interpretative application of contemporary editorial practice assured clarity of authorial content, and, more specifically, enabled his presentation of L’s fourteenth-century living history.