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Degree Plus Internship: Editing a Renaissance Play


Dr  Rebecca Bailey reports on a very successful student editing project this year.

I am delighted to report on the successful completion of five Degree Plus Internships which have given students the opportunity to gain an understanding of current cutting-edge scholarly editing principles. I spent some time last summer working on my edition of James Shirley’s The Young Admiral (licensed 1633, printed 1637). This is part of an international editorial project to edit all of James Shirley’s works which is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Oxford University Press. James Shirley is a leading Caroline dramatist whose works are being rediscovered so I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for students to gain insight into the world of publishing and editing.

Accordingly, in September 2013 a call went out to students across Humanities to undertake the sixth month internship, entitled ‘Editing a Renaissance text: what is considered to be the best practice in making a Renaissance text available to a twenty-first century reader / audience’. Imagining perhaps one or two students might be interested, I was astonished by the overwhelming response and quickly offered five internships rather than the original two places. The ‘lucky’ individuals who gained the internships after excellent interviews and applications were Dane Abley (English Literature and Film, third year), Alex Edwards (English Literature, third year), Ashley Vallally (English Literature, third year) Luke Williams (English Literature, second year) and Emma Younger (English Literature, third year). Their aim was to edit a scene from The Young Admiral of their choice and to discuss their editorial decisions through scheduled meetings. By the end of the internship each student would have a portfolio of their work to show to future employers.

I was really impressed with the dedication and drive of each of my interns. During the sixth months they waded through ninety pages of complicated editorial rules, wrote a report on The Young Admiral, and produced a very professional edited scene, complete with a collation of all changes made to the text and a scholarly commentary. Additionally, the interns reported on this Degree Plus experience to first year students on HM4050: Reading, Writing, Work and contributed to a publishing workshop for second years on HM5302: Renaissance, Revolution, Restoration.

From my perspective, it was fascinating working with students in a different capacity from module tutor and it was a delight to see such enthusiasm and determination resulting in excellent portfolios.  The interns themselves found the experience rewarding if rigorous – which is just as it should be! They have very kindly agreed to share their thoughts with current students as I hope this will encourage you all to explore the wealth of opportunities which are available within the Degree Plus umbrella. Please scroll through to the following student posts.

Image: Sovereign of the Sea, flagship of Charles l’s navy, 1637.

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