Critical Edition Update

Critical Edition of Whitehead quarterly update, spring 2024

Whitehead’s corrections for the Cambridge University Press edition of SMW

The first three months of 2024 have been focused on a couple of things: finishing up the second volume of Whitehead’s Essays and Articles (EA2) and kicking off the work that’s been scoped for the NEH grant. We’ll start by discussing EA2, since there’s been an interesting development.

After essentially completing work on EA2, we were ready to submit the manuscript to Edinburgh University Press (EUP), but were bothered by an issue that was inevitably going to come up in publishing the two volumes of Essays and Articles separately: the internal references to other essays in EA1 couldn’t be precise and accurate, because EA1 does not yet exist. The same would have been true if we had completed EA1 first: we would have been unable to accurately reference articles appearing in EA2.

In the end, after talking it over with EUP, we all agreed that it would be best to submit both manuscripts to be copyedited and typeset at once, which will resolve the issue. This does mean that EA2 will be published later than we thought, certainly not until 2025, but we believe that accurate bi-directional cross-referencing is worth the delay. Both EA1 and EA2 will now be submitted to EUP in August 2024. We anticipate them being released in late 2025.

As for the work we’re doing as part of the NEH grant, this essentially has three prongs. We’ll briefly discuss each of these.

One prong is the initial transcription of (1) student notes slated for the final volume of Whitehead’s Harvard Lectures (HL6), and (2) correspondence to and from Whitehead. We are ahead of schedule on this front. Transcription for HL6 is complete and we’ve proceeded to transcription of letters.

The second prong is the monograph volume that will feature Science and the Modern World, Religion in the Making, and Symbolism. We are currently working on transcribing accurate electronic versions of all editions released in Whitehead’s lifetime. Unfortunately, while for Process and Reality Griffin and Sherburne had access to a Macmillan copy on which Whitehead made emendations, there is very little similar material for these three books, though there are still numerous long-standing corrections to make. One exception is the half-page at the top of this blog, which shows two Whitehead corrections to the Cambridge University Press version of SMW. This edition was published after the Macmillan one, and so likely needed fewer corrections at the typesetting stage.

The final prong of NEH work is the editing and publication of the third volume of Harvard Lectures (HL3). We are in the early stages of verifying transcriptions of the notes for this volume against the handwritten originals, which is long and painstaking work. We are helped somewhat in deciphering hard-to-read words by comparing sets of notes that were taken during the same class session, which thankfully is frequently the case.

Finally, we are also in the process of editing a book of essays on the significance of the second volume of Harvard Lectures (HL2), to be titled Whitehead at Harvard, 1925–1927, based on papers delivered at a 2022 conference.

We will have our hands full with the NEH grant work over the next three years, but currently we are very much on schedule.

The work of searching for, transcribing, and editing archival materials is time-consuming and costly. The NEH grant does require $50,000 in matching funds, so ongoing support of the community is welcome and needed. Even with this new grant, we still have decades of work ahead of us, and there is no guarantee that future NEH support will be forthcoming. If you are able to support our work with a donation, it would be much appreciated. Just follow this link.

Brian Henning, General Editor
Critical Edition of Whitehead
Professor of Philosophy,
Gonzaga University
Joseph Petek, Executive Editor
Critical Edition of Whitehead

1 thought on “Critical Edition of Whitehead quarterly update, spring 2024

  1. 2 suggested postings for Jessie M. Whitehead (1894-1980):

    1. The article Jessie wrote from her hospital bed, describing the fall she had suffered in a ravine on Mt. Washington, which broke her neck, in January 1933, published in APPALCHIA, the journal of the Appalachian Mountain Club, that same month, available on the AMC website Archives.

    2. The article Jessie had published in APPALCHIA, of her interview with an elderly Canouk about his story of how the rats were driven from a cornfield on the White Mountains by a modern-day Pied Piper, (date unknown) but which can be ascertained from its reprinting in Spectorsky, A. C, THE BOOK OF THE MOUNTAINS, 1955.

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