David Greetham (textual scholar)

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David Greetham
David Greetham near window
Born (1941-10-21) 21 October 1941 (age 79)
Cheshire, England
Academic background
School or tradition Textual scholarship
Academic work
Institutions The Graduate Center, CUNY

David Greetham (born October 21, 1941) is an Anglo-American literary critic and the founder of the Society for Textual Scholarship.


Greetham received his undergraduate degree from the University of Oxford in 1963 and completed his Ph.D. in English at the City University of New York.

Marta Werner of D'Youville College describes Greetham as "drawn to texts that spill over the boundaries of genre, that exist in multiple versions, that explore intertextuality, and that complicate in various other ways the notion of text as fixed or stable."[1] In his works, Greetham has sought to co-opt "the terminology and practice of literary theory in re-designating textual operations in the guise of ... literature, anthropology, sociology, gender studies, history, political science, linguistics, psychology, [and] philosophy."[2]

As a theorist of scholarly editing, Greetham has taken up a middle ground between intentionalist positions like that of G. Thomas Tanselle and the social textual criticism of Jerome McGann, maintaining the goal of establishing an authoritative text while allowing the possibility that multiple authorized versions can exist.[3] In his later work, Greetham has moved away from the idea that an editor can establish a "psychic" connection with the author through which he or she can determine the author's true intentions, instead seeing editing as an occasion for reflections on the ideology underlying scholarly practice.[4]

Society for Textual Scholarship

Greetham was one of the founders of the Society for Textual Scholarship and served as the Society's President from 1999 to 2001.[5] Founded in 1979, the Society provides an interdisciplinary forum for presentation of research in a number of textual disciplines. Notable past members have included G. Thomas Tanselle, Paul Oskar Kristeller, Fredson Bowers, and Jerome McGann.

Selected Works

  • The Pleasures of Contamination (2010)
  • Theories of the Text (1999)
  • Textual Transgressions: Essays Toward the Construction of a Biobibliography (1998)
  • The Margins of the Text: Editorial Theory and Literary Criticism (1997)
  • Scholarly Editing: A Guide to Research (1995)
  • Textual Scholarship: An Introduction (1992)
  • TEXT: An Interdisciplinary Annual of Textual Studies (1984)


  1. Warner, Marta (2003). "Post-Everything". Text. 15: 337–349. JSTOR 30227799.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Greetham, David C. (1999). Theories of the Text. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 15 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Mathijsen, Marita (2002). "The Concept of Authorisation". Text. 14: 85–6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Werner, Marta (2008). "Signals from a Distance: Editing, Telepathy, Elegy". Textual Cultures. 3 (1): 7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "The Society for Textual Scholarship". Textual Cultures. 6 (1): 166–169. Spring 2011. doi:10.2979/textcult.6.1.166. Retrieved 15 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>