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Newsletter 2

James Shirley Project: Newsletter 2


Introducing the Team:

In the last newsletter we introduced our newly-appointed Research Associates. Other key people involved in the Shirley Project are:

Cheryl Cave: Cheryl was officially appointed as Project Support Officer in December 2008, after having done the job on an interim basis since the start of the project in April. Cheryl is based at Warwick, and combines this part-time post with being Graduate Secretary in the English Department (a job she has done for 18 years!). She is the main point of contact for day-to-day enquiries from contributors and the public about the project, she is responsible for the website and for organising the conference in September (about which, more later). Please do not hesitate to contact her if you need information – she will know where to field your enquiry if she doesn’t know the answer.

Justine Williams: Justine worked on Shirley’s Irish visit (1636-40) as an AHRC-funded PhD student (supervised by Teresa Grant, one of the project's General Editors) at Warwick beginning in 2006 and recently graduating in January 2011. Justine did her MA at Warwick in the Culture of the European Renaissance and before that was an undergraduate in English at Liverpool University.

Emily Collins. Emily was appointed as a graduate researcher to work with Teresa Grant on the British Academy Small Research Grant ‘Bibliographical Investigation and Textual Collation of Two Shirley Plays, The Gentleman of Venice and The Politician’. The project runs from September 2008 to September 2009 (now extended into 2010). Emily was originally involved in the Shirley Project as a Warwick-funded Undergraduate Research student during the summer of 2007 when she collated the London and Cambridge copies of The Witty Fair One. We liked her so much that we wanted her back. You can see Emily’s poster from this project here Emily is currently in her second year of a part-time interdisciplinary MA in Renaissance Studies, the first year of which she studied at Birkbeck and the second year here at Warwick.

Hannah Davies. Hannah was also a Warwick Undergraduate Research student, in 2008, working on Restoration productions of Shirley plays. Her poster can be found here Hannah is now an intern at the Tate Gallery where she is hoping to put her knowledge of the seventeenth century to good use. She claims that she bored the panel rigid in the interview by refusing to talk about anything but Shirley, but it clearly did the trick!

Natasha Collie. Natasha has been appointed to a Warwick Undergraduate Research studentship for the summer 2009, having just graduated at Warwick with a First in English Literature (well done, Natasha!). She will be working on a study of and an annotated bibliography of Shirley’s Comic Women, following up the intense interest Shirley’s female characters always provoke. She will be based in Cambridge for a month over the long vacation.

Kevin Steers: Kevin has been appointed to an Anglia Ruskin Undergraduate research Studentship for the summer of 2009, being supervised by Alison Searle. Kevin is working on bibliographical aspects of Shirley’s grammars. He is based in Cambridge for two months over the long vacation.

Philip West and Paul Botley. Phil (Poems) and Paul (Grammars and Prose) are also going to act as volume editors, in collaboration with the GEs. The nature of these large tasks means it is much better to have one expert concentrate on these genres so that internal consistency can been guaranteed. Phil’s special research interest is the poetry of the seventeenth century: his book Henry Vaughan's ‘Silex Scintillans’: Scripture Uses (OUP, 2001) has been followed by essays on Nathaniel Wanley and George Herbert and on the poetry of the English Civil War. Paul is an expert on Renaissance translation. His book Latin Translation in the Renaissance (CUP, 2003) dealt with the theory and practice of Leonardo Bruni, Giannozzo Manetti and Desiderius Erasmus. He is therefore ideally placed to edit Shirley’s Latin/Greek/English grammars, of which there are many versions (they went through an almost constant accretion as Shirley added to them throughout his life). He is also probably the only person on earth who looks excited rather than dismayed or panicked when they are mentioned.

Contributors may be interested to know who is editing which texts. A list has been posted on the website so please use the following link to access the relevant page



Research News 

  • Finding List: We have uploaded the latest finding list onto the James Shirley webpage on the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance website at Warwick University. It can be accessed through the following password-protected link (password: stalbans):  

Please feel free to use this list but if you think the document is wrong in any way or you have found other copies not listed please let Alison Searle ( or Cheryl Cave ( know as soon as possible.


  • St Catharine’s College Digital Images: A full set of digital images of St Catharine’s College Library’s Shirley holding are available for research purposes and can be accessed through the following link (password: stalbans):

Please note that these images are for the private use of members of the Shirley Project only. Copyright is held by St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. The images are not to be disseminated in any way.


  • Collation of Copy-Texts: The OUP proposal requires contributors to attempt to collate every known exemplar of their copy-texts. If there are 50 or more such exemplars, at least 50% of them will be collated, because, as the work of David Gants and others has shown, corrected states can survive in small numbers.


  • Stop-Press Collation Assistance: Over the coming twelve months we would like to offer stop-press collation assistance to contributing editors on London and Cambridge copies of James Shirley’s plays. This assistance includes checking for variants in the exemplars of the copytext (usually the first edition) but does not extend to collation of subsequent editions. Please let us know as soon as possible if you would like help of this kind. As there is quite a heavy collation burden associated with the project, we are keen to offer as much help as possible now, but please note that we will not be able to offer very much of this assistance after May 2010.


  • Collation method: Our collation method involves producing a transparency overlay of every page (at 100% scale) from a given exemplar of the copytext. Differences between this sample exemplar and any other copy placed underneath it therefore appear fairly immediately, allowing us to collate copies much more quickly than simply ‘eyeballing’ (the original collation method). Although transparencies are not as accurate as optical collation by machines such as the Hinman or McCloud collators, they offer a portable method appropriate to the full variety of archives that hold Shirley texts. Transparencies also have proven effective on projects such as the Cambridge Jonson. During the conference, Alison Searle and Emily Collins will be running a workshop which deals with using transparencies for collation, including some of the potential pitfalls of the method.


  • The Delegates of Oxford University Press have approved the proposals for the Masques and Entertainments volume and volumes 2 and 3 containing the earlier plays.


  • ‘Re-editing the Renaissance’: Shirley Conference in Cambridge, September 2009. We are delighted that so many contributors to the project are able to make the (in some cases very long) journey to the Workshop. You will already have received a draft timetable for the workshop so will know that papers and discussions focus mostly on establishing the editorial guidelines for the project but also include more diverse subjects such as staging Shirley’s plays. The Shirley core team are very excited about meeting all contributors, especially those from across the seas. The highlight of the social side promises to be the conference dinner at Churchill College on Monday night. Click here for the conference programme

If you have any queries about the practicalities of the workshop please do not hesitate to contact Cheryl Cave ( She will be contacting participants shortly to ask if they need extra nights at Catz and to check that everyone’s booking form still reflects their current preferences for meals etc.


  • Access to St Catharine’s College Library’s Shirley Collection: * Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon have been specially set aside for accessing the college’s remarkable Shirley collection. The librarian, Mrs Suzan Griffiths, has kindly agreed to allow access at these times. Access could be granted at other times during the workshop if there is competition for texts. Please let Alison Searle ( know if, and when, you would like to consult the collection at St Catharine’s College and she will liaise with the librarian to arrange access for you.