Australian Scholarly Editions Centre Projects (ASEC)

Recently Published

  • Under Western Eyes
  • While the Billy Boils: The Original Newspaper Versions
  • Biography of a Book: Henry Lawson's While the Billy Boils
  • Variants: The Journal of the European Society for Textual Scholarship
  • Scholarly Editing: The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editings
  • Textual Cultures: Texts, Contexts, Interpretation

Under Western Eyes

Under Western Eyes

Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad, edited by Roger Osborne and Paul Eggert, with Keith Carabine and Jeremy Hawthorn. The Works and Letters of Joseph Conrad (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, October 2013). ISBN 9780521824071

Set in the tumultuous political world of Tsarist repression and revolutionary intrigue in St Petersburg and Geneva, Under Western Eyes (1911) renders with searing intensity the psychological torment of its Russian protagonist, a university student who, in betraying another, has betrayed himself.

Based upon a comparison of the existing manuscript and other materials, this scholarly and first extensively annotated edition of Joseph Conrad's great novel Under Western Eyes differs from all previous printings by more accurately reflecting Conrad's writing process.

The reading text is supported by new scholarly materials that are the result of fifteen years of investigation: essays on the textual and biographical history of the novel, extensive notes, appendices and maps, as well as a full listing of the thousands of textual variants in the early forms of the novel, including the 18,000 words that Conrad himself deleted.


The first extensively annotated edition, including historical, biographical, contextual annotations

Full listing of textual variants in the early forms of the novel, including retrieval of the 18,000 words Conrad deleted during revision

An MLA Approved Edition, MLA Committee on Scholarly Editions

Extracts From

Front matter and Introduction

Author's Note

Under Western Eyes

The Texts: An Essay

Apparatus: Emendation and Variation

Apparatus: Emendation of Accidentals

Textual Notes

Appendix B: Major Typescript Deletions

Explanatory Notes

To order a copy of this edition of Under Western Eyes (in hardback) go to

While the Billy Boils: The Original Newspaper Versions published in 2013 by Sydney University Press, edited by Paul Eggert and with explanatory notes by Elizabeth Webby.

While the Billy Boils Cover

Fifty-two of Henry Lawson's stories and sketches that he had first published in newspapers and magazines from 1888 onwards were gathered in his collection While the Billy Boils (Angus & Robertson, 1896). Lawson was not responsible for their ordering and he had to give ground on their texts, especially on his idiosyncratic presentation of wordings that helped to breathe life into his characters and situations. The present edition dismantles the fait accompli of 1896 by presenting the individual items in the chronological order of their first publication and with their original newspaper texts. This will allow a new appreciation of Lawson's writing, one that is attentive to his developing powers.

The edition also facilitates a close study of Lawson's collaboration with the producers of the collection in 1896, in particular with his copy-editor Arthur W. Jose and publisher George Robertson. Facsimile images (available online) of the printer's copy that they prepared for While the Billy Boils supplement the edition's listing of the alterations that each of them made, revealing the textual history of each story or sketch.

Available from Sydney UP in hardback or paperback at

Individual stories and sketches in self-contained pdfs are also available cheaply for course packs. The front matter, including the Introduction and Note on the Texts, comes gratis with each pdf. Click here for an example ('The Geological Speiler').

Facsimiles images of the Lawson manuscripts also appear on the publisher's website. They complement the edition's recording of changes made for volume publication in 1896.

Biography of a Book: Henry Lawson's While the Billy Boils (2013) by Paul Eggert

Biography of a Book: Henry Lawson's While the Billy Boils Cover

Biography of a Book traces the life of an iconic Australian literary work in the lead-up to, and for a century after, its initial publication. While the Billy Boils was Henry Lawson's first story collection and remains an archetypal classic of Australian literature. Paul Eggert's book-historical case-study has far-reaching implications for the methods of literary study. Eggert not only revives the long-neglected concept of the literary work, but also broadens it to incorporate reading practices and historical readerships, as well as the material forms of works that those readers actually encountered.

Eggert shows how Lawson's famous collection came out at a decisive moment for the development of a fully professional Australian literary publishing industry, then in its infancy in Sydney. The volume's editing, design and production were collaborative events that changed the feel and nature of Lawson's writing. It went on to be reprinted and repackaged countless times. Its production and reception histories act like a geological cross-section, revealing the contours of successive cultural formations in Australia. In unravelling the life of Lawson's classic work Eggert's book-historical approach challenges and clarifies established understandings of crucial moments in Australian literary history and of Lawson himself.

Available from Sydney UP at In North America, published by Pennsylvania State University Press at

Here are two excerpts from Biography of a Book:

Excerpt from Chapter 4: The Revision and Copy-Editing of While the Billy Boils: Lawson and Arthur W. Jose

Excerpt from Chapter 12: Lawson's Reputation in the Postwar Period

Endorsements of Biography of a Book:

'Only Paul Eggert–articulate, resourceful and always coming up with the goods–could have written this: a book-historical account (with an infectious love of detail) of the production, reception and reading of a single book which is also a series of scholarly detective stories, a biography of Henry Lawson, and a history of the study of the book over the last hundred years. It's a major scholarly achievement, and thoroughly readable with it.' –John Worthen, University of Nottingham

'This book is a tour de force. Taking as its case study Henry Lawson's canonical selection of short stories, While the Billy Boils (1896), it traces the entire history of its production and critical reception in Australia through the changing social and intellectual formations of the twentieth century. It is an engrossing detective story, a rich repository of evidence, and a masterpiece of a particular kind of literary scholarship. It will have a substantial impact on Australian literary studies while also making this Australian case an illuminating one for international work in the field of textual studies.' –Robert Dixon, University of Sydney

'Paul Eggert's Biography of a Book explores the "life" of Henry Lawson's While the Billy Boils, under its shaping powers of agency in writing and production, of bibliography, publishing conditions and markets, reader reception, press reviewing and academic criticism. At first sight a case study, this monograph essentially re-conceptualises traditional history-of-the-book methodology. Out of its grounding in facts and historicity, the discipline gains hermeneutic force. Eggert's final outlook is courageously towards re-aligning the critical and cultural notion of the "work".' –Hans Walter Gabler, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit?t Munich

'It is rare to find in one book both a panoramic assembly of cultural, historical, biographical, textual, industrial, and sociological interests and–even when not paired with its companion volume, a scholarly edition of the stories–a mine of data insistently collected and arranged such that, not only is there a broad picture drawn but plenteous grist offered for further interpretation. This is such a book, painting the life of Henry Lawson's book as a moving, developing focal point for the author composing and revising, the publisher making and marketing, and successive generations of reviewers and readers giving a lively, century-long (so far) after-life to the work. In the relatively new field of book history, this one is a model of what can be accomplished–an interdisciplinary corrective to straitened narratives of discipline-bound investigations.' –Peter Shillingsburg, Loyola University, Chicago

Variants: The Journal of the European Society for Textual Scholarship, volume 10

Variants: The Journal of the European Society for Textual Scholarship Cover

Variants, volume 10. Edited by Wim Van Mierlo, associate editor Alexandre Fachard. Rodopi, Amsterdam/New York, NY 2013. 318 pp. This volume is the 10th issue of Variants. In keeping with the mission of the European Society for Textual Scholarship, the articles are richly interdisciplinary and transnational. They bring to bear a wide range of topics and disciplines on the field of textual scholarship: historical linguistics, digital scholarly editing, classical philology, Dutch, English, Finnish and Swedish Literature, publishing traditions in Japan, book history, cultural history and folklore. The questions that are explored – what texts are worth editing? what is the nature of the relationship between text, work, document and book? what is a critical digital edition? – all return to fundamental issues that have been at the heart of the editorial discipline for decades. With refreshing insight they assess the increasingly hybrid nature of the theoretical considerations and practical methodologies employed by textual scholars, while reasserting the relevance and need for producing scholarly editions, whether in print or digital, and continuing advanced research in bibliographical codes, textual transmissions, genetic dossiers, the fluidity of texts and other such subjects that connect textual scholarship with broader investigations into our nations' literary culture and written heritage.

For the table of contents, visit the publisher's website at:

Scholarly Editing: The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editings

Scholarly Editing: The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing, vol. 34 (2013) is now published online at at

Scholarly Editing publishes peer-reviewed editions of primary source materials of cultural significance while continuing the decades-long tradition of publishing articles and reviews about editing that defined its print predecessor, Documentary Editing. This year's issue includes editions and essays by contributors from several countries, tackling materials that span centuries. We are pleased not only to present editors with a rigorously peer-reviewed publication platform, but also to share fascinating documents from cultural history with the reading public. All of this material is available freely online and is completely open-access.


Textual Cultures: Texts, Contexts, Interpretation. The journal of the Society for Textual Scholarship, volume 7, number 2 for 2012 (published 2013)

Textual Cultures: Texts, Contexts, Interpretation

This important journal of record of editorial theory and practice is available electronically via institutional subscription to jstor at