Helen Hunt Jackson's Ramona: A Critical Edition

Conley, Caitlin, English - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Vander Meulen, David, Department of English, University of Virginia

I begin by exploring the context, reception history, and scholarly conversation surrounding Helen Hunt Jackson’s 1884 novel Ramona. This historical commentary demonstrates the importance of studying the novel as part of the complex issues surrounding the 19th-century relationship between Native Americans, the United States government, and the American people—among many other topics. As such a significant object of study, it is important to have a text of the novel that fulfills Jackson’s final authorial intentions, for the text was corrupted in its transmission from Jackson’s manuscript, to its serialization in the Christian Union, and to its publication in book form by Roberts Brothers. I collate the documents that Jackson was able to see and revise during her lifetime in order to reconstruct these lost intentions. In the textual commentary, I explain my editorial philosophies and guidelines. I ultimately present two chapters of the novel that I have edited according to these standards, as well as a record of all the changes that I made to the novel. The appendices give a list of the editions of Ramona that I examined for the project, as well as an overview of its publication history from 1884 until the present day.

MA (Master of Arts)
Ramona, Textual Criticism, Book History, Helen Hunt Jackson, 19th-century American literature, Critical Edition
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