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REED in Review

REED in Review: Essays in Celebration of the First Twenty-Five Years

Audrey Douglas
Sally-Beth MacLean
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 264
  • Book Info
    REED in Review
    Book Description:

    Thirteen essays amplifying the content of selected conference papers, and a fourteenth submitted at the editors' invitation, make upREED in Review

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2738-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)

    In 1978, almost two years after its foundation, REED convened a scholarly gathering that in part marked its first publication, two volumes for York, edited by Alexandra F. Johnston and Margaret Dorrell Rogerson: this collection primarily focused on the organization and presentation of the city’s late medieval cycle drama. A number of those attending the gathering were actively associated with REED; others had a long-standing interest in exploring the various problems that a project dedicated to the transcription of early dramatic records must needs solve. Papers, comments, and wide-ranging discussion at this bravely titled ‘First Colloquium’ were thus marked by...


    • The Founding of Records of Early English Drama
      (pp. 21-38)

      The major impetus behind the establishment of Records of Early English Drama in 1976 came from an international group of scholars who were trying to understand the native tradition of English playmaking that apparently flourished in late medieval provincial towns. From the beginning the project was the creation of many people: those who served in advisory or editorial capacities, and those who, once hired by the project, gave their skills and experience to building its foundation. My part in the narrative is to place the project within its scholarly context and to chronicle the steps that led to its founding;...

    • Birthing the Concept: The First Nine Years
      (pp. 39-51)

      The Records of Early English Drama has been long established as an international humanities research project and the format of its big red volumes is familiar to a widening circle of users. Although each new publication in the series yields its own surprises, the basic framework of REED research and editorial methodology has been solidly grounded for almost two decades. Alexandra Johnston has outlined above the stages in the dynamic conception of REED, culminating in the award of a ten-year Major Editorial Grant from the Canada Council to form a research team of scholars and to launch the first volumes...

    • ‘Practice Makes Perfect’: Policies for a Cross-Disciplinary Project
      (pp. 52-62)

      Alexandra Johnston and Sally-Beth MacLean have earlier in this section told the REED story up to the point where, in the mid-1980s, a publication series was established with overarching policies and guidelines. An important part of that journey was the need, recognized and grappled with from REED’s early days, to effectively ensure the quality of the collections through the transcription and translations guidelines. In these early years REED benefited also from fortuitous timing – unbeknownst to its founders, developments in humanities computing applications and computer technology were at hand that would assist the project’s goals.

      While the basic guidelines for all...


    • Gathering in the Name of the Outlaw: REED and Robin Hood
      (pp. 65-84)

      The myth of Robin Hood endures, not least, because of its capacity for transformation. This propensity for reinvention has seen the outlaw hero shift over time from ruthless yet courteous antiauthoritarian yeoman, through genteel but dispossessed nobleman, to Green Lord of the Wildwood, the spirit of Spring.¹ Apart from the essential attraction of a champion of justice and freedom, Robin Hood retains his popular appeal, unlike some other outlaws, because he lacks historical certainty and the confinement of biography. He becomes what each age demands of him, shaped by the social and political desires and anxieties of each generation. As...

    • What Hath REED Wrought? REED and Patronage
      (pp. 85-100)

      When the REED project was first conceived in the mid-1970s, few of us realized how significantly it would affect so many disciplines. Obviously, the collection of all references to theatrical activities to be found in civic and guild accounts, church-wardens’ accounts, private family papers, and other such archives would contribute to our understanding of early modern theatre history, but REED research has also influenced art history, music history, social history, performance studies, cultural studies, and literary history. In fact, as theYorkvolumes emerged, patronage studies, my particular interest here, also began to develop, in great part due to the...

    • Margins to the Centre: REED and Shakespeare
      (pp. 101-115)

      The chief feature on which I wish to focus in this essay is REED’s methodicalness.¹ The project methodically targets all the cities and counties of the UK without regard for their reputation for theatrical activity or for their associations with particular playwrights. REED’s own metaphors for its processes are military, rather than literary. As Sally-Beth MacLean wrote in 1983, REED’s is ‘an ambitious battle plan … In the recurring military metaphor of our general editor, Alexandra Johnston, REED editors are assigned locations and sent into the field, armed with uniform editorial guidelines and sharp pencils for transcription. The booty retrieved...

    • Everything’s Back in Play: The Impact of REED Research on Elizabethan Theatre History
      (pp. 116-128)

      In 1989, at the annual meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America (SAA) in Austin, Texas, Barbara Palmer, John Wasson, and Suzanne Westfall were in a seminar entitled ‘Shakespeare’s Soliloquies and Their Audiences’; Alan Somerset was in a seminar entitled ‘History, Historiography, and Theater’; Alan Nelson and Anne Lancashire were in one entitled ‘Theater Historians as Storytellers.’ Sally-Beth MacLean and Peter Greenfield were not on the program at all. Although about half of the volumes now in print in the project known as Records of Early English Drama (REED) had come out by 1989,¹ and although the REEDNews-letterwas...


    • REED and the Record Office: Tradition and Innovation on the Road to Access
      (pp. 131-139)

      The broad pattern of public archive provision in England is on the whole well suited to the county-based approach taken by REED. As a result of the way in which it originated, this provision has largely developed along topographical rather than thematic lines and has produced today’s picture of local record offices covering defined administrative areas. Archivists and their staff based in these localities are often able to build up a deep and wide-ranging knowledge of the resources in their care, which they are enthusiastic to share with users. This approach may be helped by the fact that local record...

    • Roles in Life: The Drama of the Medieval Guilds
      (pp. 140-156)

      A great merit of the Records of Early English Drama project celebrated in this volume has been the editors’ decision to broaden their scope beyond the range of activities conventionally categorized as ‘theatrical.’¹ While many of the events whose records have been tirelessly transcribed in the REED volumes had little or no staging, costumes, or spoken parts, few would deny that a dramatic element informed the choral processions, pageants, and Hocktide binding of men by women that are chronicled throughout late-medieval England. I should like here to propose that we widen still further our horizon on the dramatic qualities of...

    • Crossing the Border: The Provincial Records of Southeast Scotland
      (pp. 157-177)

      The Records of Early English Drama project has crossed the border into Scotland and has courteously adjusted its title to Records of Early Drama: Scotland (RED:S) – an appropriate gesture on entering a different country, which remained a separate monarchy until 1603. While exporting the seat of its long-established dynasty to England, it continued thereafter to maintain its own institutions of state and its own system of law, education, and church government. From the late-fifteenth to the mid-seventeenth centuries, Scotland was a relatively poor country, about 90 per cent rural (though with enjoyment of land more unevenly distributed than in England)....

    • REED and the Possibilities of Web Technologies
      (pp. 178-199)

      In attempting to locate, transcribe, and edit surviving documentary evidence of drama, minstrelsy, and public ceremonial activity, REED is dependent on the fortunate survival of those manuscripts in which these records are found. These manuscripts have been preserved, whether by design or chance, through the centuries and are fascinating resources for documenting the history and culture of society. It is only through the preservation of such documents that projects like REED are able to provide source material for the contextual investigation of early drama. One of the inherent aims behind the transcription and editing of early drama records is their...

    • Herodotus in the Labyrinth: REED and Hypertext
      (pp. 200-215)

      An act of resistance against the bleaching of time that draws the colour from past human experiences, the writing of history is itself an act that directly shapes the past that it attempts to preserve. Seeking to transmit the past, to make it available across the distance of time, history is a subsidiary document of the original experience. And from this distanced observational stance at one stratum removed from the original, history necessarily involves the interpretation and condensation of that lived experience for its later reification. Given this inherent reconstitution, the choice of apparatus used for historical recording and representation...

    • Thinking Outside the Bard: REED, Repertory Canons, and Editing Early English Drama
      (pp. 216-235)

      Shakespearean textual scholarship has recently passed through a period of radical upheaval. Poststructuralist theory, in conjunction with the ascendance of electronic media, has been instrumental in generating new and almost invariably controversial models for editing early English drama.² Amidst lively debate over the decentring of Shakespeare’s authority, the larger part of the early English dramatic canon languishes – undervalued, underexamined, and underedited. Such critical and editorial negligence is an effect, paradoxically, of the same process of decentring that has been so productive for Shakespeare studies. As Shakespeare’s texts multiply (aShrew,twoLears,threeHamlets), they consume increasingly more disciplinary and...

    • Using REED: A Select Bibliography
      (pp. 236-250)

      The following select bibliography offers readers examples of scholarly work that has used or commented on REED texts. It is by no means comprehensive. In fact, I have made an effort to keep the list down to a moderate size on the assumption that a well-pruned list of representative books and articles will be less intimidating and more useful to someone interested in models for using the REED volumes than an exhaustive list. I have also emphasized scholarship of the past decade since, as the series has added records collections over the years, it has become proportionally more attractive to...

  8. Contributors
    (pp. 251-254)
  9. Index
    (pp. 255-271)