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2014.0047 [WOMEN AND LITERATURE]
Date Range of Records: 1709-2014
Creator(s):
- Greer, Professor Germaine [29 January 1939-]
The Greer Archive has been made available because of its historical and research importance. Statements which form part of the collection are not made on behalf of the University and do not represent the University's views. It contains material that some researchers might find confronting. This includes: explicit language and images that reflect either the attitudes of the era in which the material was originally published or the views of the creators of the material but may not be considered appropriate today; names, images and voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in published and unpublished printed material, audio recordings and photographs; discussion and descriptions of sexual violence, medical conditions and treatment. The Women and Literature series in the Germaine Greer Archive comprises 46 units of material relating to Greer's research on women writers, poets and translators, and her work as a publisher of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century women poets. This 641 files in this series include annotated drafts of critical work; handwritten notes from manuscript research conducted by Greer and her collaborators and assistants; correspondence relating to the preparation and distribution of publications; and extensive photocopies of manuscript and secondary materials about a large number of women writers. Writers with research files in the collection are primarily eighteenth and nineteenth-century British poets, although other nationalities, genres and time periods are also represented. Chief among these are several early Italian poets. Italian-language research notes and materials, including a battered 1954 edition of Gaspara Stampa's Rime (2014.0047.00356), testify to Greer's knowledge of Italy's literary history, as well as its language. Most of the files in the series are from the late 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. These include materials relating to Greer's publications Kissing the Rod: An Anthology of 17th-Century Women's Verse (1988) and Slip-Shod Sibyls: Recognition, Rejection and the Woman Poet (1995), and to the establishment and operation of Stump Cross Books, a publisher of neglected and pioneer women poets. It also includes some materials relating to her return to the University of Warwick as a Professor of English in 1998, as well as some earlier records. An exercise book from the early 1980s, the first item in the series (2014.0047.00001), holds an extensive, handwritten bibliography of works ordered for the Tulsa Centre for the Study of Women's Literature. In addition to this notebook, Unit 1 contains published copies and photocopies of other volumes, including volumes of poetry, catalogues of microfilm collections, and journal issues. Units 1-3 also hold typescripts of draft journal articles reviewed and edited by Greer, several of Greer's own articles, and drafts, correspondence, reviews and agreements relating to Kissing the Rod. Units 3–27 contain the bulk of the research files, and primarily consist of photocopied manuscript and secondary materials, transcripts, and research notes, with some index cards, library callslips, typescript drafts of critical work, and occasional related correspondence. These files are arranged alphabetically by the surname of the writer, starting with Sarah Flowers Adams and finishing with Faustina Maratti Zappi. The smallest research files consist of a single photocopied entry from a compendium, often A. H. Miles' The Poets and Poetry of the Century, while the materials on other writers, notably Aphra Behn, Mary Carey, Anne Finch, Laetitia Elizabeth Landon, Delarivier Manley, Sappho, Katherine Philips, and Anne Wharton, extend across multiple files, and in some cases multiple units. Interleaved among the research files, the series also contains a copy of the small poetry volume The Charms of Liberty: A Poem … To which is added, Epigrams, Poems and Satyrs. Written by Several Hands (2014.0047.00062), published in 1709, and of John Arbuthnot's satirical political pamphlet John Bull Still in His Senses: Being the Third Part of Law is a Bottomless-Pit, published in 1712 (2014.0047.00225). Greer herself, in a preliminary listing of the collection, describes the Women and Literature series as a 'sub-archive', containing material relating to 'publications of rare works by women in scholarly editions under her imprint of Stump Cross Books'. Stump Cross began operation in the late 1980s. Volumes produced under the Stump Cross imprint are The Uncollected Verse of Aphra Behn (1989); The Collected Works of Katherine Philips, the Matchless Orinda, published as Volume I - The Poems (1990), Volume II - The Letters (1992), and Volume III - The Translations (1993); and The Surviving Works of Anne Wharton (1997). Copies of each of these volumes are held with the Greer Archive, alongside Greer's other published works. The series also contains several full drafts and research notes for an unrealised Stump Cross Books volume – a collection of the poetry of Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea. The Finch volume was prepared in the late 1990s, with publication slated for c.2000. Correspondence held with the draft and research materials documents the difficulties of copy-editing and typesetting the volume. Greer's comments in letters and printed emails reveal how these difficulties were compounded by the creep of technological change into the publishing process. Recognising this transformation of the industry, she also considers turning to the production of an ebook volume (2014.0047.00563). As well as documenting the influences of new technologies on publishing, the Stump Cross Books material demonstrates Greer's commitment to publishing traditions. Several files of correspondence discuss printing and binding processes for the Anne Wharton and Katherine Philips volumes. Numerous brochures and promotional catalogues of typefaces and paper samples have likewise been kept in the series. One file contains a sample of the cover boards for the Anne Wharton hardcover edition, and a metal stamp used to emboss the spine of the volumes. The importance Greer accorded to the material elements of her publishing praxis periodically recurs in other series in the Archive. In an article on French wine cropped from The Telegraph, held in the Print Series, Greer remarks 'When I became a publisher I bound my books like French ones, in off-white paper' (2014.0046.00914). File 2014.0047.00471 holds designs for the Stump Cross Books phoenix emblem, alongside clippings and photocopies of the logos of other publications. The bird reappears on Stump Cross Books letterhead and form correspondence slipped inside other Women and Literature files. Other earlier designs for the publisher's device are also sketched on the backs of documents in the Print series (2014.0046.00197). The series was conceived and consolidated in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The name of the series, Women and Literature, derives from an early name for Slip-Shod Sibyls. Other working titles for the volume included The Mortal Muse and The Unsexed Muse. In addition to the files on Slip-Shod Sybils in this series, both the Major Works series (2014.0045) and the Publishers' Correspondence series (2014.0052) contain details of the development of the publication. These include a 1992 Memorandum of Agreement with Viking, an imprint of the Penguin group, for the delivery of the volume Women and Literature (copies held at both 2014.0045.00123 and 2014.0052.00026) and correspondence with commissioning editors at Viking relating to the gestation and naming of the volume, and negotiation of the details of Greer's agreement to write the volume (2014.0052.00026 and 2014.0052.00027). Greer's work as researcher and as publisher of early women writers is deliberately and self-consciously feminist. Addressing the lack of recognition traditionally accorded women writers is undoubtedly an issue for the feminist cause, but Greer's work goes beyond this. Greer's key priorities in this area reemerge in the work practices documented by the materials in the series. These include the establishment of University programs and centres – like Tulsa – that research and teach women's writing, and the conception of Stump Cross Books as a platform for the careful and well-researched republication of works by early women writers. These also include the determined and consistent emphasis that Greer places on scholarly work that recovers and reconstructs women writers' original words and intentions through the careful triangulation of available manuscript and published editions. Greer sums up the ethos that informs this focus in the prologue to Slip-Shod Sibyls, commenting that: 'For most women poets we do not have copies of works in their own hand-writing, let alone examples of work in progress, with corrections and emendations. […] Scholarly ethics require that we try a great deal harder to get at the truth about them. Only when we understand their circumstances can we arrive at a correct assessment of their achievement.' (Greer, 1995, xvii). Greer's own research work, documented in this series, responds directly to this call-to-arms. The references in this passage to the paucity of manuscripts created by these writers are particularly interesting when considered in conjunction with the story that Greer's holograph manuscripts tell about her own careful and critical work practices. The high-level critical attention that Greer focuses on women writers in her work as a publisher is mirrored in the ways that Greer approaches them in her work as a researcher. The documents contained in the Women and Literature series offer insight into several different modes of engagement between Greer and these subjects of her research.
46 Units (7.82m)
Collection Category: University, individuals
Access Conditions: Access: Restricted
Finding Aids: Yes listed ONLINE
Online ListingGREER, Professor Germaine - Women & Literature 2014~0047
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