Date of Graduation


Document Type



This dissertation investigates the theory and practice of editing as it moves into the electronic era. As an example of the type of material which scholars may now be interested in working with, it centers on an edition of a lecture given by the West Virginia artist-journalist David Hunter Strother on John Brown nine years after the insurrection at Harper's Ferry. This material was chosen because it was locally available, unpublished, both locally and nationally important, and of the dimension which would have formerly placed it on the margin of paper publication. Chapter one shows how the theory of editing has evolved from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day. Chapter two deals with the introduction of computing techniques to literary studies, the subsequent experimentation with new pedagogic and creative forms, and the beginning of digital editions. Chapter three moves on to the work of the edition and the technical and software choices which have been made for this particular example. It provides a rationale for choosing the particular document both as an example for the dissertation and as a piece of scholarship that will contribute to studies in civil war history and biography. The edition of the David Hunter Strother lecture is archived in Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). These files can be read by any SGML reader (WordPerfect 10, for example). Readers who can obtain a copy of Panorama Pro can see how the detail recorded in the SGML files can be presented in different fashions, with material included or excluded, highlighted, colored, etc. The files are also present in HTML form for present-day convenience. The final chapter of the dissertation assesses the process of assembling the addition and working with different software and coding techniques. It concludes with a look at one of the most important issues of editing in any form, accuracy, ending with a discussion of the new issues that confront literary editors working with electronic media.