Essays on John Matthews Manly and Edith Rickert

deadline for submissions: 
July 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Katherine Ellison/Illinois State University
contact email: 

Edited Collection: Essays on John Matthews Manly and Edith Rickert

Katherine Ellison
Deadline: 500-1,000 word abstracts due by July 1, 2018.

Abstracts are solicited for an edited collection on the collaborations of John Matthews Manly and Edith Rickert, philologists, medievalists and early modernists, and cryptologists who worked as a duo on a number of groundbreaking projects from the eight volume Text of the Canterbury Tales to the Waberski Cipher. The goal of this volume is to survey the diverse body of work the two scholars created together across their careers, giving equal attention to their literary and cryptology expertise as well as their contributions to early composition and writing studies, linguistics, archival studies and bibliography, and educational theory. We are also interested in essays that analytically discuss the scholars’ personal lives and both private and professional relationships, for example with William and Elizebeth Friedman, George Fabyan, Elizabeth Wells Gallup, John Dewey, etc. As Chair of the University of Chicago English department, editor of Modern Philology, President of the Modern Language Association, and second-in-command of the Military Intelligence Division, section 8 (MI-8) during WWI, Manly’s institutional influences were wide, and Rickert led alongside him, often without deserved acknowledgement. This volume will bring together multiple perspectives on their careers and contributions to a wide range of fields, acknowledging a century of evolving scholarly reception of and speculations about their projects and collaborations.

We seek essays on all of the following topics, as well as intersections and influences not here identified:

  • the history of the highly reputable journal, Modern Philology, which Manly edited from 1908-1930;
  • Manly and Rickert’s training of students in paleography and influences on the future of that study;
  • the 8-volume Text of the Canterbury Tales and work in Chaucer studies;
  • contributions to scholarship on Shakespeare, including but not limited to their work toward debunking the Shakespeare-Bacon theory;
  • pedagogical materials in teaching beginning researchers and students archival and bibliographical methods;
  • pedagogical materials concerning composition and writing studies, including but not limited to The Writing of English (1919) and The Writer’s Index (1923);
  • pedagogical materials in the teaching and anthologizing of literature, such as Contemporary British Literature (1921), Contemporary American Literature (1922), and New Methods for the Study of Literature (1927), and the influences of their methods on the future of literary theory, particularly formalism, theories of authorship, and canonization and classification;
  • cryptology work on particular ciphers and development of methodologies;
  • general impact on early twentieth-century intelligence and military strategy;
  • creative writing projects, like Rickert’s The Reaper (1904), The Folly (1906), The Golden Hawk (1907), numerous short stories, and influences on fields like children’s literature;
  • institutional reform efforts for changing public and higher education; for example, ensuring equity in education, strengthening the interaction of the sciences and the humanities, or developing the English Studies model, which integrates rhetoric, writing, linguistics, literary studies, and the other disciplines of language;
  • the contexts of Manly and Rickert’s work within Midwestern Social Darwinist, Progressive, and agrarian Populist politics;
  • reformation of the functions of the Modern Language Association;
  • influences on models of collaborative scholarship and authorship;
  • Manly and Rickert’s actual teaching of and interactions with students; for example, Rickert was well known for her experimental teaching of contemporary literature, which she published in 1927 as New Methods for the Study of Literature.

Abstracts of 500-1000 words, with citations in Chicago style, should be sent via email to Prof. Katherine Ellison, Department of English, Illinois State University, at by July 1, 2018. Please send original proposals not under consideration in other venues.