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Terri Bourus

Kate Hellier
Oxford University Press

Last modified: Wednesday, December 2, 2009

IUPUI scholar to help digitize entire body of Shakespeare's work

IUPUI Associate Professor Terri Bourus one of three editors selected for the project

Dec. 2, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) will house a new editorial project that will change the way Shakespeare is presented to the world. The Oxford University Press project will result in The New Oxford Shakespeare, an entirely new print and digital edition of the complete works of the most influential writer in the English language.

Terri Bourus

Photo by Brian Drumm/Triple Play Photo

Terri Bourus

This will be the first multiplatform, multiformat edition of Shakespeare's works and will be based upon original research by a small, cohesive international team of scholars, led by three general editors, including IUPUI Associate Professor of English Drama Terri Bourus, a prize-winning English professor and equity actor.

Bourus joins two other world-class editors, Gary Taylor, the George Matthew Edgar Professor of English and director of the History of Text Technologies program at Florida State University, and John Jowett, professor of Shakespeare Studies and deputy director of the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham, both of whom edited previous Oxford editions of Shakespeare's work.

Indiana University fully supports The New Oxford Shakespeare project at IUPUI, supplying working space for the editors, two research associates, graduate research assistants and necessary equipment.

Taylor writes that the past quarter-century has been an exceptionally exciting time for Shakespeare scholarship, performance and teaching, on a global scale.

"Problems that have defeated previous editions now seem solvable -- especially with the resources of the world's greatest academic press," Taylor said. "It's a great honor, and a daunting obligation, to be given the opportunity to sum up, assess and expand our knowledge of the most influential of all English writers. It's an honor, and a pleasure, to be part of such an ambitious international team, working together creatively, interactively, across borders and generations and disciplines."

The edition will be designed to take advantage of maturing technologies for digital and print incarnations of literary and theatrical texts.

Rather than mechanically favoring a single early book, The New Oxford Shakespeare will make careful use of all the surviving original documents, offering readers more choices than any previous edition. With the click of a computer key, readers can choose text featuring Shakespearean spelling or modern spelling; print or digital presentation; and alternative early versions of some works, among other options. The New Oxford Shakespeare will provide a wealth of new, reliable pedagogical material for students, and an essential compilation of editorial and textual research for scholars.

Jacqueline Baker, literature editor at Oxford University Press, said The New Oxford Shakespeare will be a brand-new edition of the complete works of Shakespeare that returns to the source.

"Oxford University Press shares its editors' high ambition for a project that will make a significant contribution to Shakespeare studies and the editorial tradition, with points of access and interest for all readers of Shakespeare, from the student to the advanced scholar," said Baker.

Said Bourus, "It was always my dream to act in plays. As I matured, my dream began to shift to the text, and so I moved between page and stage with great ease. Now I have the unanticipated opportunity to be a central force in the new wave of Shakespeare studies. The Oxford edition will not be just another Shakespeare text; it will examine the plays of Shakespeare through the lens of performance. With the support of Indiana University, and with the vision of Oxford and its editors, students, faculty, and the arts and education communities will benefit from this dynamic collaboration."

About the editors:

Gary Taylor general-edited (with co-editor Stanley Wells) the landmark 1986-87 Oxford edition of Shakespeare, and he returns to Shakespeare after general-editing the Oxford edition of the Collected Works of "our other Shakespeare," Thomas Middleton (winner of the MLA prize for critical editions). He has also edited John Fletcher's The Tamer Tamed, and for 30 years has published widely on editing, literature and theater.

To learn more about Taylor, see

John Jowett's Oxford University Press publications include Shakespeare and Text (2007), the Oxford Shakespeare (1986, associate editor), the Oxford Middleton (2007, associate general editor), and the Oxford Worlds' Classics editions of Richard III (2000) and Timon of Athens (2004). He is also a general editor of the Arden Early Modern Drama series, has edited Sir Thomas More for the Arden Shakespeare, and is on the editorial board of the Malone Society.

To learn more about Jowett, see

Terri Bourus has edited multimedia editions of Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream and digital editions of six early plays by Shakespeare's contemporaries (Compendium of Early Modern Drama). She is author of The King's Players and the Players' Printers: Nicholas Ling, Valentine Simmes, and James Roberts (in press). In addition to her own research and editing work, Bourus will oversee the Oxford project at the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, which will provide offices, administrative and computing support, and two long-term Visiting Research Associates, who will be assistant editors on the New Oxford Shakespeare.

To learn more about Bourus, see