Jerome McGann, an important critic of Romanticism and Byron studies, and the editor of Byron: The Complete Poetical Works (Clarendon Press, The Oxford English Texts series, 1980-1993),
has donated his Byron papers to the Byron Society Collection at Drew University.
The materials in Professor McGann’s collection are primarily of three general types. They include his working files for the OET Byron edition—his editorial materials, notes, and correspondence, as well as a selection of proofs of different volumes of the edition; a large set of facsimiles of Byron MSS and associated Byroniana; and a collection of scholarly and critical materials—books, pamphlets, editions, and catalogues— acquired and used in his work on Byron,
the edition, and the general context of the period.
This gift of the McGann Byron papers complements previous gifts of early editions and microfilms from Professor McGann to the Byron Society Collection. “Probably the most significant part of these materials,” he notes, “is the set of facsimiles. Along with the early editions and facsimiles already in the collection, these will make it possible for a person to carry out significant primary research on Byron’s writings and publications without leaving Drew’s special collections.”
In addition, the McGann gift also includes audiotapes, play scripts, photographs, and associated production materials that relate to the production of Cain that Professor McGann and friends staged at the University of Chicago in 1967. The Cain production was the first of a series of Romantic works that Cain’s Company mounted over the following four years. The final component of the gift to the Byron Society Collection is Professor McGann’s working Byron library.
With this gift, the Byron Society Collection now houses the books and papers of the two most significant Byron scholars of the twentieth century. Professor McGann’s materials join those of the late Leslie A. Marchand, author of the definitive three-volume Byron: A Biography and editor of the thirteen-volume Byron’s Letters and Journals. Professor Marchand, along with Marsha M. Manns, was the cofounder of the Byron Society Collection, as well as the Byron Society of America. Professor McGann, who was recommended as the editor of Byron: The Complete Poetical Works by Professor Marchand, is a founding member of the Byron Society of America and currently serves on its Board of Directors. He has participated widely in the Society’s programs and international conferences and is a major donor to the Byron Society Collection.
— This article originally appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of Visions, the Library Newsletter