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Testamentary ActsBrowning, Tennyson, James, Hardy$
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Michael Millgate

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198183662

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198183662.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Testamentary Acts

Michael Millgate

Oxford University Press

Many writers of the last two centuries looked at Sir Walter Scott as a supreme model of career closure and of noble dying. In his last years, aware of the immensity of his reputation, he collaborated in the production of his final comprehensive edition of novels, his magnum-opus. This book examines the different ways and strategies in which writers and authors in their old age exert some degree of posthumous control over their personal and literary reputations. In this book, their strategies in keeping their personal and creative privacy and in maintaining the interpretation and textual integrity of their published works are discussed. The four authors examined are Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson, Henry James and Thomas Hardy, all of whom maintained and etched a pattern of conscious career conclusion by deliberately and passionately ensuring the maintenance of their personal and creative privacy up to and beyond the moment of their death and directed the future conceptions of their work by either preserving personal papers, revising earlier works and providing new prefaces and annotations, publishing so-called ‘collected’ editions, and destroying unwanted works.

Keywords:   literary reputations, textual integrity, career conclusion, integrity, reputation, collected edition

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