Integrating ‘Bibliography’ with ‘Literary Research’: A Comprehensive Approach
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ENGL 603, Bibliography and Literary Research, introduces Texas A & M English graduate students to a wide range of topics and issues:• MLA documentation format• print and electronic reference sources in English and the humanities• The special characteristics of humanities research• The history of books and printing• Enumerative, analytical, and descriptive bibliography• Editorial theory and practiceThe course's title, as well as this laundry list of contents, raises a question that we pursue throughout the semester: what is the relationship between ‘bibliography’ and ‘literary research’? To the extent that the course covers enumerative or reference bibliography, the answer seems obvious; students understand that they need to know how to use major serial bibliographies and other secondary sources. But the relevance of other forms of bibliography is less easily understood by students who have never thought about the process by which the texts they study became books. The lack of exposure to bibliography, textual scholarship, and the history of the book among English graduate students should come as no surprise; as Jerome McGann has observed (in an essay that is required reading for my students), these fields have been marginalized within english studies for some time.
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Teaching Bibliography, Textual Criticism, and Book History