James Woolley, Frank Lee and Edna M. Smith Professor of English, has received a major three-year National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to edit the poems of the 18th century Irish writer Jonathan Swift.
Woolley’s collaborators in the project include Eric Luhrs, head of digital scholarship services at Skillman Library, Paul Miller, digital production manager at Skillman Library, and Stephen Karian, a member of the English faculty at the University of Missouri.
One of the greatest and best-known satirists in literature, Swift wrote Gulliver’s Travels, “A Modest Proposal,” and several hundred mainly satiric poems. The NEH Scholarly Editions Grant will support two complementary products: a printed edition of Swift’s complete poems and a freely accessible online archive. The printed edition will appear as four volumes of the 18-volume Cambridge Works of Jonathan Swift, now being published by Cambridge University Press. The online archive is expected to be even more voluminous and is intended to enable the user to search and compare the important early manuscript and printed versions of every poem. The archive will also make available illustrative resources beyond the printed edition.
According to Woolley, the edition and the archive will provide “unprecedented access to Swift’s creative process and to the complex ways that his poems engage with their social, political, literary, and intellectual contexts.” In addition to their literary interest, Swift’s poems are primary sources for scholars working on 18th century British or Irish economics, politics, history, and religion, Woolley says.
Woolley has been a member of the Lafayette faculty since 1980. He is author of Swift’s Later Poems: Studies in Circumstances and Texts (Garland, 1988) and editor of The Intelligencer by Swift and Thomas Sheridan (Oxford, 1992). Woolley has held fellowships from NEH and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, among others. Karian, who moved to the University of Missouri from Marquette University in 2011, is the author of Jonathan Swift in Print and Manuscript (Cambridge, 2010). He has held an NEH Fellowship and other awards.