|William Byrd II of Westover|
Sometimes, if dialogues between texts written long ago and 21st-century readers are to succeed, they need editorial assistance. This may mean providing cultural and historical contexts as part of the editorial apparatus, and it may mean paying attention to particular words. As I transcribed and annotated the extant manuscripts of William Byrd's Dividing Line narratives, I found both of these endeavours challenging and fascinating. But there is not always room in a book for everything that can be said, and I find (as the volume nears the publication date) that I have more to say, especially about a few words Byrd employed.
William Byrd II, in the History of the Dividing Line (his account of the 1728 survey to chart the Virginia-North Carolina border), produced a detailed narrative of the expedition, featuring a history of the colonies, descriptions of the flora, fauna, topography, natural resources, indigenous people, and much more. Indeed, he wrote (and rewrote) much of the Dividing Line in his library over the next
Pride (of the Beaver)
to prime (a game animal)
P.S. My new edition of The Dividing Line Histories of William Byrd II of Westover, will be published on November 1, 2013, by the University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture. For further details see the UNCP listing.
And the book is available from Amazon
Quotation from Jorge Luis Borges, "Nota sobre (hacia) Bernard Shaw" (1951).