G. Thomas Tanselle

G. Thomas Tanselle (born 1934) is an American textual critic, bibliographer, and book collector, especially known for his work on Herman Melville. He was Vice-President, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, 1978-2006.[1]

BiographyEdit

Tanselle is a native of Lebanon, Indiana and received his undergraduate degree from Yale University. Tanselle attended graduate school at Northwestern University where he studied with Harrison Hayford among others. He received his PhD in 1959 from the Department of English where his dissertation was titled Faun at the Barricades: the life and work of Floyd Dell.[2] From 1960 through 1978 he taught at the University of Wisconsin.[3] After moving to New York City in 1978, he served as vice president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation until 2006.[3] He was an adjunct professor of English at Columbia University, and co-editor of the Northwestern-Newberry Edition of the writings of Herman Melville. He was president of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia 1993-2006. He is also a member of the board of directors and textual consultant of the Library of America.[1] He was president of the Grolier Club, the pre-eminent American society of bibliophiles, 1986-1990.

Tanselle held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1969–70), American Council of Learned Societies (1973-74), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (1977–78).[3]

Theories of textual editing and influenceEdit

Tanselle absorbed the principles of Walter W. Greg and Fredson Bowers, who developed the theory of textual criticism, a branch of textual scholarship, philology, and literary criticism that is concerned with the identification and removal of transcription errors in texts, both manuscripts and printed books, in order to create a text which most closely reflects the author's intent. He has been called the "most prominent, consistent, and authoritative defender of the Greg-Bowers approach to editing," which is now the "dominant theoretical and practical position in Anglo-American editing." Tanselle has sought to accommodate legitimate critiques of its limitations, such as the insistence on the difference between substantive and accidentals, that is, the difference between the words and their spelling and punctuation. [4] Tanselle, says one scholar, like Greg and Bowers, postulates the notion of an "ideal 'correct' text, measured against which extant texts show various degrees of 'corruption' that the editor seeks to remove." Tanselle follows this tradition more flexibly, but still comes to rest on the "principle of the author's final intention,'" which the "editor (or critic) seeks first to understand and then to implement..." This position is opposed to the New Criticism, which rejects the intentional fallacy, since the author's intentions are not relevant to the work of art once it is finished.[5]

He then applied these principles to the study of American literature. [6] He was particularly active as textual editor for the Northwestern-Newberry edition of the works of Herman Melville to make a critical edition, as approved by The Center for Scholarly Editions. [7]

Major publicationsEdit

Books
  • —— (1967). Royall Tyler. Cambridge,: Harvard University Press.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  • —— (1968). The Writings of Herman Melville. Evanston, Ill.,: Northwestern University Press.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  • —— (1971). Guide to the Study of United States Imprints. Cambridge, Mass.,: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674367618.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  • ——; Newberry Library. (1976). A Checklist of Editions of Moby-Dick, 1851-1976 : Issued on the Occasion of an Exhibition at the Newberry Library Commemorating the 125th Anniversary of Its Original Publication. Evanston; Chicago: Northwestern University Press ; Newberry Library.
  • —— (1977). The Editing of Historical Documents. Charlottesville, Va. ;: Published for the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia by the University Press of Virginia. ISBN 0813908043.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  • —— (1979). Selected Studies in Bibliography. Charlottesville: Published for the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia by the University Press of Virginia. ISBN 0813908299.
  • —— (1981). The History of Books as a Field of Study : A Paper. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Hanes Foundation, Rare Book Collection/Academy Affairs Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • —— (1990). Textual Criticism and Scholarly Editing. Charlottesville: Published for the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia by the University Press of Virginia. ISBN 0813913039.
  • —— (1993). Samuel Johnson's Translation of Sallust : A Facsimile and Transcription of the Hyde Manuscript. New York Charlottesville: Johnsonians ; Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • —— (1993). The Life and Work of Fredson Bowers. Charlottesville: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia. ISBN 1883631009.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • —— (1997). The Middle Hill Press : A Checklist of the Horblit Collection of Books, Tracts, Leaflets, and Broadsides Printed by Sir Thomas Phillipps at His Press at Middle Hill, or Elsewhere to His Order, Now in the Library of the Grolier Club. New York: The Grolier Club. ISBN 0910672202.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • —— (1998). Literature and Artifacts. Charlottesville: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia. ISBN 1883631068.
  • Tanselle, G. Thomas, Peter Franklin Kardon, Eunice R. Schwager and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. (2001). The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 1925-2000 : A Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Record. New York: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  • —— (2003). Textual Criticism and Scholarly Editing. Charlottesville: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia. ISBN 1883631092.
  • Ray, Gordon Norton, G. Thomas Tanselle and University of Virginia. Bibliographical Society. (2005). The Art Deco Book in France. Charlottesville New Castle, Del.: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia ; Distributed by Oak Knoll Books. ISBN 9781883631123.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  • ——; Grolier Club. (2006). The Pleasures of Being a Scholar-Collector. New York: Grolier Club. ISBN 0910672660.
  • —— (2009). Bibliographical Analysis : A Historical Introduction. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521760348.
  • —— (2011). Book-Jackets : Their History, Forms, and Use. Charlottesville; New Castle, Del.: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia ; Oak Knoll Books. ISBN 9781883631130.
  • Tanselle, G. Thomas, Hal Kugeler and Caxton Club. (2011). Other People's Books : Association Copies and the Stories They Tell. Chicago: Caxton Club. ISBN 9780940550100.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  • —— (2013). Essays in Bibliographical History. Charlottesville: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia. ISBN 9781883631147.
Selected articles

References and further readingEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b "G. Thomas Tanselle," Oxford Companion to the Book (2010) accessed December 28, 2014.
  2. ^ Faun at the Barricades: the life and work of Floyd Dell in WorldCat, accessed December 30, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c G. Thomas Tanselle papers, 1960-2005.
  4. ^ Groden (1991), p. 263.
  5. ^ Bornstein (1991), p. 5.
  6. ^ Tanselle (1975).
  7. ^ Tanselle (1968).

External linksEdit