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Bio/Bibliographical Research Opportunity

The online Jackson Bibliography of Romantic Poetry (jacksonbibliography.library.utoronto.ca aka BRP) is now inviting users to submit biographical headnotes of up to 400 words for authors who do not already have them. Applicants will be sent detailed guidelines for the content and style of their entries and in return for suitable copy will receive peer review, copy-editing, prompt publication, and acknowledgement in the form of their initials at the end of the entry and their names included in the List of Contributors.


This online bibliography, now an essential resource for the study of English-language verse publications in the Romantic Period, was created by J. R. de J. Jackson of Victoria College in the University of Toronto and has been evolving steadily since its first appearance as a chronological list of titles, Annals of English Verse 1770-1835, in 1985. The goal was to break away from repetitive literary history with its emphasis on a few names in order to look afresh at all the original, new poetry published in book form from 1770 to 1835--in short, at "Romantic" poetry proper, apart from reprintings of earlier verse and from all prose forms. With Romantic Poetry by Women 1770-1835 (1993), Jackson took a closer look at a subset of the original list, made it transatlantic (not narrowly British), and found he could double the number of known women poets. In this book for the first time he aimed at first-hand examination of every title and--since nearly all his authors were ignored by literary histories--provided a short biographical headnote for each writer. Then in 2006, building on the principles established in RPW, he launched the first version of a database supported by and housed at the University of Toronto Library. Work on the database continued after his death in 2011, the checking of entries and examination of copies being undertaken by Heather Jackson (HJ) and Sharon Ragaz (SR). When it was relaunched on a new platform with enhanced searchability in 2020, it consisted of 23,000 book records representing the work of over 5000 named authors, more than 800 of whom are women. Biographical headnotes were included for the first time for all authors whose books were published in Scotland, Ireland, and North America, and for a gradually increasing number of the remaining authors (those who published in England, Wales, and other parts of the world). Given that the geographical criterion is place of publication, not citizenship or nationality, most of the major literary figures of the period now have headnotes. In this work SR and HJ were joined by Andrew Ashfield (AA).


With its comprehensiveness, first-hand authority, and flexibility in search functions, the bibliography is a potential goldmine for studies in Romanticism (especially for minor authors and recovery projects) and Book History. We continue to labour to improve it and welcome suggestions through our Contact Us tab. With our current invitation we hope to speed up the completion of the headnotes phase of development and to provide hands-on experience leading to a publication credit in exchange for a small commitment of time.


Please contact:

Heather Jackson heather.jackson@utoronto.ca

Sharon Ragaz sharon.ragaz@gmail.com

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