Scholarly manual by prof achieves 'classic' status

What began a decade ago as a Mississippi State University professor's essay on the world of 19th century British fiction now is an internationally recognized publication in the field of scholarly editing.

Peter L. Shillingsburg, a senior member of the English department faculty, recently produced a major update of "Scholarly Editing in the Computer Age." Originally published in 1986, the book's 187-page third edition was released earlier this month by the University of Michigan Press.

David Greetham of the City University of New York Graduate School said Shillingsburg's manual has become "a classic" in the world of scholarly research. In his foreword to the book, Greetham predicts this latest edition of "Scholarly Editing" will serve as the definitive guide in its field well into the 21st century.

Shillingsburg, a member of the Mississippi State faculty since 1970, is general editor of the Thackeray Scholarly Edition Project, the first full-scale critical compilation in more than 70 years of novels as William M. Thackeray wrote them. The project's goal is to produce the English writer's complete works as he intended them to be read before they were reworked by Victorian editors.

Thackeray (1811-63) was a leading advocate of the realistic novel, the most famous of which is "Vanity Fair." Prior to the Shillingsburg-led project, none of Thackeray's texts were available exactly as originally composed.

The two previous editions of "Scholarly Editing" have brought Shillingsburg praise for his presentation of a range of editorial problems and the varieties of approaches to their solutions.

Shillingsburg holds two major honors at Mississippi State: the 1996 Upper Level Teaching Award and the 1995 Robert W. Harrison Jr. Distinguished Faculty Award.

He holds bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from the University of South Carolina.