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October 26, 1982

Peter Davison, professor of English and American Literature at the University of Kent in Canterbury, lectured on the process of creating a complete edition of George Orwell’s works. “Professor Davison is no amateur in the editing game,” wrote Kerstin J. Warner ’86 in The Miscellany News. “His interests and past publications include analytical bibliography, medieval literature, Shakespeare and now Orwell…. He shared with the audience some of the questions he had to face while editing his 15-volume [edition]. ‘How do we know what Orwell wrote?’ (Editors and typesetters interfered.) Do we print what he intended or what he intended to have printed?”

Davison explained how he attempted to bring Orwell’s original thoughts and work to the forefront. “Would Orwell have trusted me? What would he want?…. The editor is always in danger of becoming a co-author.”

Professor Davison—whose edition of Orwell ran eventually to 20 volumes—spoke previously at Vassar in 1980 and 1981.

The Years