Shelley scholar lands major honour in US

Published: 12 March 2013 at 11:05

Poetry volume, co-edited by Anglia Ruskin’s Professor Nora Crook, wins Finneran Award

Nora Crook, Professor Emerita in the English Department of Anglia Ruskin University, has shared the prestigious Richard J Finneran Award for 2013 for her major role as co-general editor of Volume 3 of The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley.

The prize, awarded every two years by the Society for Textual Scholarship for the best edition or book about editorial theory and/or practice published in English, was presented at a ceremony in Chicago on Friday, 8 March.

According to the judges, the work represents an “exemplary peak of book-based textual scholarship in its bringing together and organising around clear reading texts the biographical, textual, contextual and reception histories of Shelley’s major poems during the 1814–1818 period”, which was the point Shelley left England, never to return.

They added that it is “a prodigious undertaking . . . enormously ambitious”, and rooted in “decades of the scholarly editing as well as the bibliographic and codicological description of notebooks and works of Shelley and the other Romantic poets”.

The work has also received glowing reviews, with Susan Wolfson of Princeton University writing:

“This latest installment of The Complete Poetry is nothing less than a landmark in Shelley studies: comprehensive and reliable, necessary and illuminating.”

The Times Literary Supplement said:

“The detail and precision of the textual editing here are exemplary: the publication history of the poems, along with the tangled manuscript evidence behind and alongside the original volumes, is dealt with clearly and (when need be) decisively, to produce a hugely authoritative – as well as huge – edition.”

Volume 3 of The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley was co-edited with Donald H. Reiman of the University of Delaware and Neil Fraistat of the University of Maryland, and with five other contributing editors from US and UK universities. There are five more volumes in preparation, for two of which Professor Crook will serve as volume editor, as well as being a general editor for the series. 

Professor Crook said:

“These two volumes will be the ones containing the poems of Shelley published posthumously, first of all by Mary Shelley and over the next 180 years in dribs and drabs by other editors, who discovered them in Shelley’s notebooks.
“My transcription of two of these notebooks during the late 1980s and 1990s, and editing Mary Shelley’s works, including Frankenstein, between 1992 and 2002, underpin my work.”