Virtual Conference: Textual Editing and the Future of Scholarly Editions

On May 25-26, 2021, the American Antiquarian Society is hosting a virtual conference that will bring together a range of scholars in conversation about new directions in textual editing and scholarly editions.

Since the late 1960s, AAS has been a sponsor of the Cooper Edition, a scholarly edition of James Fenimore Cooper’s works with the seal of the Committee on Scholarly Editions of the Modern Language Association. The conference coincides with the two hundredth anniversary of the publication of Cooper’s first major novel, The Spy. Panels will address topics such as textual editing in the digital environment; the role of critical race theory, indigeneity, and the canonical author in textual editing and scholarly editions; and who should be involved in the creation and production of scholarly editions.

We are excited about the slate of the panelists (listed below) and hope you will register for the conference by visiting the conference webpage! This event will be free thanks to the generous support of the Cooper Edition. We are also grateful to the Bibliographical Society of America for supporting this conference.

The conference will be introduced by a video featuring James Elliott (Clark University) and Lance Schachterle (Worcester Polytechnic Institute).

In addition, textual critic and bibliographer G. Thomas Tanselle has written a special statement on the anniversary of The Spy and the value of the Cooper Edition just for this conference. You may read the statement here.

Textual Editing and the Future of Scholarly Editions:
A Conference on the Bicentennial of James Fenimore Cooper’s The Spy

May 25, 12:00-1:30 PM (EDT)
Panel 1 – “The Past, Present, and Future of the Scholarly Edition”

Co-chairs and Keynotes:
Derrick Spires (Cornell University) and Amy Earhart (Texas A&M University)

Douglas Jones (Rutgers University)
Joycelyn Moody (University of Texas at San Antonio)
Kirsten Silva-Gruesz (University of California Santa Cruz)

May 25, 2:00-3:15 PM (EDT)
Panel 2 – “Textual Editing in the Classroom and Beyond”

Chair and Keynote:
Elizabeth Maddock Dillon (Northeastern University)

James Ascher (University of Virginia)
Sonia Di Loreto (University of Torino–Italy)
Meredith Neuman (Clark University)
Sarah Robbins (Yale University)

May 26, 12:00-1:30 PM (EDT)
Panel 3 – “Textual Editing Beyond the Print Edition of the Canonical Writer”

Chair and Keynote:
John Bryant (Hofstra University)

John Garcia (Florida State University)
John McKivigan (Indiana University)
Joseph Rezek (Boston University)

May 26, 2:00-3:15 PM (EDT)
Panel 4 – “Textual Editing and the Future of Digital Editions”

Chair and Keynote:
Matt Cohen (University of Nebraska Lincoln)

Christine DeLucia (Williams College)
Jimmy Sweet (Rutgers University)
Robert Warrior (University of Kansas)


The Society has a wide variety of Cooper items in the collection, including a portion of Cooper’s personal papers; the personal library and papers of Cooper Edition editor James Beard; the account book of F.O.C Darley (who illustrated Cooper’s works in the 1850s); proofs from Alfred Jones’s engravings of Darley’s illustrations; a copy of David Mamet’s script for The Deerslayer; a painting portraying a scene in The Last of the Mohicans; and, among many other resources, hundreds of books.

Those interesting in learning more about this collection may be interested in the AAS online exhibition James Fenimore Cooper: Shadow and Substance.

In there are any questions concerning the conference or AAS holdings on Cooper, please contact Ashley Cataldo at or Kevin Wisniewski at

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