Electronic Editions

COVE Electronic Editions offers a searchable archive of published scholarly editions, enhanced by technology made possible in an online environment. Each critical edition is based on the highest scholarly standards and is peer-reviewed.

Peer-Reviewed Editions

The Doom of the Great City 1880 by William Delisle Hay

William Delisle Hay's The Doom of the Great City (1880) is relatively unknown today, even among scholars who specialize in Victorian literature. There is little scholarship on the novella, and it’s not commonly taught in high school or college classrooms. Our hope is that this critical edition will change that. Doom's engagement with nineteenth-century science, environmental concerns, and the post-apocalyptic genre lend it much relevancy in the twenty-first century.

Catherine 1839 to 1840 by William Makepeace Thackeray
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A forgotten masterpiece, William Makepeace Thackeray’s first novel, Catherine, has languished in obscurity, in part due to its author’s own unhappiness with it. He had set out to write a satire of the Newgate novels of the 1830’s with their glorification of criminals, but instead turned out a tale of a roguish heroine much in the mould of the equally roguish heroine of Vanity Fair: Becky Sharp. Also like Vanity Fair, this novel provides some wry social commentary through the mouth of its cynical narrator.

A Mystery in Scarlet 1866 by James Malcolm Rymer
A Mystery in Scarlet

Robert Louis Stevenson cherished the 1866 penny dreadful A Mystery in Scarlet, written by his "genuine influence" Malcolm J. Errym, the pseudonym of "Sweeney Todd" creator James Malcolm Rymer (1814-84) and illustrated by the celebrated "Phiz" (Hablot K. Browne, 1815-82).

Sartor Resartus 1834 to 1835 by Carlyle, Thomas
Sartor Resartus
Thomas Carlyle once described Sartor Resartus as “a Satirical Extravaganza on Things in General,” and the book has both inspired and confounded readers since its initial publication in 1833-34.  Engaging with philosophy, theology, political economy, aesthetics, history, and science, Sartor Resartus in many ways defies classification.
Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter 1839, 1851, 1880 by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter

The short story originally published as “Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter. Being a Seventh Extract from the Legacy of the Late Francis Purcell, P.P. of Drumcoolagh” in Dublin University Magazine (May 1839) is widely recognized as the earliest masterpiece by the Irish novelist, short story writer, and journalist Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873).

The City of the Jugglers 1851 by William North

Set in the aftermath of Chartism, the European revolutions of 1848, and the bursting of the railway bubble, William North’s The City of the Jugglers; or, Free-Trade in Souls: A Romance of the “Golden” Age (H. J, Gibbs, 1850) is constructed around the rise and fall of an audacious commercial speculation in human souls, and, with it, England’s reactionary social order.  Punctuated by Carlylean statements of moral outrage, self-regarding authorial footnotes, diverting speculations on matters ranging from monetary policy to the state of modern cookery, repeated panegyrics on the versatile excellence of men-of-letters, and at least three doubled secondary plot lines, the book repeatedly transgresses and thereby calls attention to the formal conventions of the Victorian novel.  This edition of The City of the Jugglers seeks to make this deliberately problematic text both available and accessible to a twenty-first-century audience of students and scholars.  Freed from the market that it excoriates, hopefully North’s self-described “mythical history, magnetic revelation, dream of poetic vanity, incomprehensible cartoon, or whatever else it turn out to be in the eyes of men or angels” can speak to a new generation of “defenders of the people, which we, and we only, represent, in this age of transitions.”

On a Portrait of Wordsworth by B.R. Haydon 1842 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
On a Portrait of Wordsworth

This edition of EBB’s sonnet, most widely known under the title of “On a Portrait of Wordsworth, by R. B. Haydon,” is the first effort to create what we are calling an “omnibus edition” of a literary work.  The edition brings together three tools that have been created for The COVE: an annotation tool, a timeline-builder, and a geospatial map-builder.

Goblin Market 1862 by Christina Rossetti
Christina Rossetti, Goblin Market
The title poem of Christina Rossetti’s first commercially published collection of poetry, Goblin Market and Other Poems (Macmillan, 1862), “Goblin Market” has always delighted, perplexed, and inspired readers. A poetic fairytale expressed in deceptively simple form, and imbued with Pre-Raphaelite sensuality and spiritual symbolism, “Goblin Market” met its first public with two introductory illustrations designed by Rossetti’s brother, the artist Dante Gabriel. This edition of “Goblin Market” aims to present the poem in all the layered complexities of its production and reception and to illuminate the interpretive cruxes of the poem as these have been addressed by scholars and critics from the Victorian to the digital age. Led by co-editors Lorraine Janzen Kooistra (Ryerson U) and Antony Harrison (North Carolina State U), the team includes Mary Arseneau (U Ottawa), Alison Chapman (U Victoria), Margaret Linley (Simon Fraser U), Emma Mason (U Warwick), and Richard Menke (U Georgia).
The Harlot's House 1885, 1904 by Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde, The Harlot's House
"The Harlot's House" (1885; 1904) suggests why Oscar Wilde came to embody Victorian decadence and aestheticism, not just for his time and place but globally and ever since. This relatively early poem contains many of the aesthetic, political, and philosophical complexities that have come to characterize Wilde and the fin de siècle. This edition of "The Harlot's House" brings together some of the most influential Wilde scholars of the day, offering a rich current annotation of the work and the evolution of scholarship that has accrued to it. In addition to lead editors Regenia Gagnier (U Exeter) and Dennis Denisoff (Ryerson U), the team includes Stefano Evangelista (U Oxford), Natalie Houston (U Massachusetts Lowell), Diana Maltz (Southern Oregon U), Jamil Mustafa (Lewis U), and Mark Turner (King's College London).
The Sonnet 1880 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Sonnet
Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s poem, “The Sonnet,” is the first poem in the sonnet sequence House of Life. This COVE edition will bring together a handful of editors to explore the prosodic brilliance of the poem.
Heart of Darkness 1899, 1902 by Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, first published serially in 1899 and then in book form in 1902, explores with unparalleled intensity the enormity of European imperialism in Africa. A prescient instance of what would become the literary movement known as modernism, the novella also experiments with frame narration and features a complex, highly figurative style.

In an Artist's Studio 1856, 1896 by Christina Rossetti
In an Artist's Studio

This COVE edition of Christina Rossetti’s “In an Artist’s Studio" will attempt what Dino Franco Felluga, the lead editor, is calling—inspired by Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s “The Sonnet"—a “momentous edition.” The original annotations were assembled during an otherwise ephemeral close-reading session: at the NAVSA/AVSA NYU/Purdue conference at La Pietra in Florence, Italy (May 2017). The collective annotation project was then augmented over the year following the conference. 

The Portrait of Mr. W.H. 1889 by Oscar Wilde
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“The Portrait of Mr W. H.” was first published in Blackwood's Magazine in 1889 as a short story dealing with forgery, literary interpretation, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets. After its initial publication, Wilde drafted an expanded version that would have been entitled The Incomparable and Ingenious History of Mr W.H; however, it was lost for over twenty years following his bankruptcy sale. The manuscript came to light when it was published by Mitchell Kennerley in 1921 as The Portrait of Mr W.H., now doubled in size.

The Were-Wolf 1896 by Clemence Housman

Clemence Housman invented her gothic story to entertain the women in her wood-engraving class in London in 1884. She first published "The Were-Wolf" in the 1890 Christmas number of Atalanta, where it was illustrated by Everard Hopkins. In 1896 she collaborated with her brother, Laurence Housman, to produce an illustrated edition of The Were-Wolf for John Lane at The Bodley Head. In addition to authoring the text, Clemence Housman wood-engraved the 6 illustrations, decorated title page, and illuminated initial designed by her brother, Laurence Housman.


Editions under Construction

A Curse For a Nation 1860 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “A Curse for a Nation” is among the most politically charged works written by Victorian England’s most internationally influential woman poet. First published in 1855 in America, it engaged with the conflicts over slavery that precipitated the Civil War. Republished in 1860, in Poems before Congress, the poem simultaneously addressed American slavery and British refusal to intervene in the liberation and unification of Italy. Alison Chapman (U Victoria), Denae Dyck (U Victoria), Naomi Levine (Rutgers U), and Caroline Levine (U Wisconsin) join Marjorie Stone (Dalhousie U) and Beverly Taylor (U North Carolina, Chapel Hill) to annotate the shifting transnational contexts, strategic textual revisions, layered allusions, performative rhetoric, and incantatory prosody of a poetic curse that provoked intense debates and diverse responses in England, America, and Italy.
Manfred 1817 by Lord Byron
Lord Byron, Manfred
Manfred (1817) was Nietzsche’s philosophic point of departure – in his view, the decisive investigation of the central myth of Modernity: Faust.  So far as Byron is concerned, it is the pivot around which his poetical work turns.  Manfred is a critical assessment of the meanings—i.e., the illusions—that gave focus to his first tormented poems, shaped as they are by that epochal invention, The Byronic Hero.  Paradoxically, it is also the forecast of his serio-comic masterpiece Don Juan which dominated the final seven years of his work.
The Eagle 1851 by Alfred Lord Tennyson
This often anthologized vignette, the shortest of Tennyson’s several contributions to the avian lyric subgenre, is one part ornithology and one part mythology. The poem thus straddles a natural/supernatural rift that mid-Victorian decades placed under great imaginative pressure.
The Lady of Shalott 1842 by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Tennyson's Arthurian fable of love and death enjoyed such wide currency during the Victorian decades that it became, for all its evident medievalism, a minor but recognizable modern myth.  The poem mediated crises in art's relation to mimetic and expressive representation for an increasingly diverse and distant audience, through a firmly gendered and eroticized narrative, the virtuoso handling of an obsessive stanzaic form, and imagery drawn from essential technologies of Victorian industry (weaving) and empire (navigation).
"The Phonograph’s Salutation" 1888, 1891 by Horatio Nelson Powers
The Phonograph’s Salutation

“The Phonograph’s Salutation” (1888, 1891), a poem written and recited onto record by Horatio Nelson Powers, was first “published” as an audio recording onto a wax cylinder in 1888, with the print text of the poem included on a pamphlet that was made to accompany the cylinder. The cylinder and accompanying print version were then sent across the Atlantic Ocean from Orange, New Jersey, where the recording was made, to London, England, where it was used to promote the capacities of Edison’s new perfected phonograph as a means of creating audible correspondence, or, phonograms. 

Amours de Voyage 1859 by Arthur Hugh Clough
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Arthur Hugh Clough’s verse-novel, Amours de Voyage was completed shortly after the events of the 1849 Roman Republic, which Clough witnessed as a tourist. Amours de Voyage was first published in The Atlantic Monthly in four parts in 1858: Canto I in Vol. 1.4 (February, 1858); Canto II in Vol. 1.5 (March 1858); Canto III in Vol. 1.6 (April 1858); and Cantos IV and V in Vol. 1.7 (May 1858).

Concerning Geffray Teste Noire 1858 by William Morris
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The first volume of poetry to be identified as Pre-Raphaelite, William Morris’s Defence of Guenevere was published when its author was only 24.

London Labour and the London Poor 1849 to 1850, 1850 to 1852, 1861, 1862 by Mayhew, Henry
London Labour and the London Poor

Henry Mayhew is known for his investigations into the culture, labour, and suffering of poor London labourers and street-folk at the mid-nineteenth century. Mayhew and his collaborators produced a rich body of detailed material, but the complexity, disorganization, and sheer volume of the project make it a difficult text to work with. This selected edition foregrounds the collaborative, multimodal, and multivocal development of the collection of texts compiled under the London Labour and the London Poor name. The edition includes selections from the preceding 'Labour and the Poor' series in the Morning Chronicle, excerpts from texts by the Mayhew team which recycled material from the core text of London Labour, and a table of contents detailing the entirety of the London Labour project.

Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories 1891 by Oscar Wilde
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Oscar Wilde’s 1891 Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories assembles four short stories published separately in 1887. These amusing tales are semi-comic yet generically complex, and they exemplify elements of the aesthetic theory that Wilde collected in the volume published as Intentions in 1891. 

The George Eliot Portrait Gallery: Perspectives on the Writer
Portrait of George Eliot

Curated in partnership with the George Eliot Archive, this COVE edition of “The George Eliot Portrait Gallery: Perspectives on the Writer” features portraits of the writer Mary Ann Evans, known to the world as George Eliot. “The George Eliot Portrait Gallery” is remarkable in the number and scope of rare portraits that it presents. And as the editorial introduction discusses, the collection remains in an exciting state of flux, as a newly discovered painting of Eliot was authenticated as recently as 2017, and we anticipate a previously unpublished sketch of her being made public soon. Moreover, our project has expanded to include two galleries of illustrations from rare, antique sources, and we are already planning a second COVE edition to engage in a critical discussion about these images as well. “The George Eliot Image Gallery: Perspectives on the Writer’s Works” will feature two galleries, the “Selected Illustrations of George Eliot’s Works” and the “Original Illustrations of Romola.” Ultimately, it is our hope that making these scholarly resources available will evoke well-informed, scholarly engagement with the visual texts that can reflect and even influence how the writing—and the writer—are read.

The Race for Wealth 1866 by Charlotte Ridell
The Race for Wealth

Charlotte Riddell’s The Race for Wealth, first serialized in Once a Week and published in book form in 1866, revolves around two themes: adulteration and adultery. It is both a business novel, exploring the ambiguities of commerce and trade, and a sensational novel, pushing the boundaries of conventionality. Set in eastern London, the novel is replete with topical references to popular culture, contemporaneous urban developments, financial legislation, the history of the City of London and the adulteration debate that was raging at the time. The COVE edition of The Race for Wealth aims to orient readers in this web of allusions, and to provide a nuanced understanding of Riddell’s somewhat eccentric novelistic interests. In addition to lead editors Silvana Colella (University of Macerata) and Frederik Van Dam (Radboud University), the team includes..

Trooper Peter Halket at Mashonaland 1897 by Olive Schreiner

Olive Schreiner's Trooper Peter Halket at Mashonaland (1897) gives voice to one of the most powerful and uncompromising denunciations of imperial violence published in the nineteenth century, and yet the work stands largely unread by students of Victorian literature. The novella, set in Rhodesia under Company Rule, depicts an encounter between a young British soldier lost in the veld and a mysterious Christ-like stranger who transforms his views on colonialism.

Varney the Vampyre, or, the Feast of Blood: A Romance 1845 to 1847 by James Malcolm Rymer

Varney the Vampyre, or, the Feast of Blood: A Romance (1845-7) is one of the longest-running and most successful Victorian penny fiction serials, popularly termed "penny bloods." Written by James Malcolm Rymer, the creator of penny fiction villain Sweeney Todd, Varney is an innovative, wide-ranging contribution to nineteenth-century British vampire lore; a missing link between Polidori's "The Vampyre" (1819) and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897).

Whym Chow: Flame of Love 1914 by Michael Field
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This COVE edition of Michael Field’s Whym Chow: Flame of Love will make accessible the privately printed collection of poems, and situate the volume within a larger Victorian fascination with animals and animal culture. In addition to scholarly discussions of aestheticism, late nineteenth century publishing, and implications of imperialism, this edition focuses on Michael Field’s engagement animal treatment in the 19th century and the centrality of animals in Victorian literature and culture.

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