Lyrical Ballads 1798: A Critical Edition
by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

edited by Wayne K. Chapman et alii

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About the Book

This book is the product of collaboration between Dr. Wayne K. Chapman and the students of his Literary Editing class (English 441/641) during eight of the sixteen weeks of fall semester 2011 at Clemson University. Like any critical edition, it engages with and acknowledges a number of precursor texts, the most evident being the four editions of Lyrical Ballads that mark the success of the once experimental verse that the poets ventured to publish, at first anonymously, in 1798, as well as the commemorative facsimiles published by David Nutt (London) and edited by prolific scholar, editor, and poet Edward Dowden (1843-1913). The base text chosen for the present volume is the Dowden 3rd edition of 1898, which is to say, with a few rare exceptions noted, that of the 1798 London edition, which Dowden and Nutt originally set out to emulate "page for page and line for line…in old-faced type closely resembling that of the original," even so far as deliberately incorporating the textual errors and poet's errata at the end of the 1798 edition. We have followed suit but note those corrections (not always introduced in Wordsworth's 1800, 1802, and 1805 editions) in the apparatus rather than in an errata page. Dowden's endnotes have become footnotes and his preface serves as our introduction to the poems.