Dr. Thomas C. Richardson’s ability to multi-task continues to impress.


Richardson served as editor and typesetter for “The History of Matthew Wald”, the second work to be published in The Edinburgh Critical Edition of the Works of John Gibson Lockhart. The scholarly edition was published in February 2023.

The third title in the series, “Peter’s Letters to his Kinsfolk,” was published in April 2023. Dr. Peter Garside (Edinburgh) and Dr. Gillian Hughes (Manchester) served as co-editors.

As series editor, Richardson said he has learned how to typeset each volume in the series and provide print-ready copy to Edinburgh University Press, which recently was named “Academic, Educational and Professional Publisher of the Year” at the British Book Awards 2023.

“I have learned that skill on the job out of necessity,” said Richardson, a professor of English who holds the Eudora Welty Chair at Mississippi University for Women. “That is a time-consuming task, certainly, but it makes the editing process go much faster. I can turn around a text very quickly for my editors, make changes and corrections as we go along and cut months off the normal submission time. I enjoy doing that work, and my editors have appreciated my prompt responses.”

This is the first scholarly edition of Lockhart’s works and the first collected edition of the works of the 19th century author, editor and biographer. Richardson said he is editing some volumes himself and that he also is responsible for finding editors for other titles in the series.

Richardson also served as editor for the first work in the series, “Some Passages in the Life of Mr Adam Blair, Minister of the Gospel at Cross-Meikle”.

Other titles in progress are “Narrative of the Life of Sir Walter Scott,” edited by Garside; “The Life of Robert Burns,” edited by Dr. Kirsteen McCue, a Burns scholar at the University of Glasgow; “Reginald Dalton,” a novel, edited by Dr. Caroline McCracken-Flesher of the University of Wyoming; “Selected Letters of Lockhart,” which Richardson is co-editing with Hughes; and “Valerius, A Roman Story,” which he also is editing.

Richardson said a collection of Lockhart’s poetry, his contributions to “Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine,” his contributions to the “Quarterly Review,” his biography of Napoleon, an edition of his shorter biographies (Defoe, Cervantes, Theodore Hook) and a collection of miscellaneous writings also will be included in the series. He said there will be 12-14 titles and 16-18 total volumes.

“Since this is a scholarly edition, we try to look at the author’s process of developing a text from manuscript to publication, as well as revisions for later editions of the work,” Richardson said. “For some works, there are no extant manuscripts, but in other cases original manuscripts have been preserved, as well as the author’s corrected proofs and correspondence about the work.

“Lockhart was a prolific letter writer and corresponded with the major writers and political leaders of his time. He usually wrote hurriedly, ran words together, left gaps in the middle of words, and made several letters look alike. Over a period of time, I have become used to his writing, although occasionally there are words that remain uncertain. I have transcribed from original manuscripts between 3,000 and 4,000 letters in working on the edition of Lockhart’s letters.”

In The History of Matthew Wald” (1824), Lockhart’s title character tells his own story, which is set in the context of, and carefully interwoven with, the larger historical, social and political events and circumstances of Scotland in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The book exemplifies Lockhart’s idea that the novel should portray the “human mind under the influence of not one, but many of its passions — ambition — love — revenge — remorse” and should reflect the historical and social truth of the age.

University of South Carolina associate professor Anthony Jarrells wrote about the edition, “Thomas C. Richardson’s edition of Lockhart’s strange but compelling ‘History of Matthew Wald’ (1824) helpfully contextualises the religious, political and linguistic aspects of the novel’s eighteenth-century Scottish setting while brilliantly situating it in relation to Lockhart’s previous fiction, his role at ‘Blackwood’s Magazine’ and to a new Godwinian strain of the Romantic novel.”

Richardson also has worked as editor of the two-volume edition of James Hogg’s “Contributions to Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine in the Stirling / South Carolina Research Edition of the Collected Works of James Hogg.

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