He loves language because it enables us to tell stories about the world in which we all live. It seems he has a lot in common with "The Bard."
George Matthew Edgar Professor of English
Dr. Gary Taylor is the George Matthew Edgar Professor of English at Florida State University. His scholarly work indicates that decisions made by sixteenth century entrepreneur, Edward Blount, may very well be one of the reasons for the many world-wide celebrations honoring Shakespeare's April birth date.
Blount had the uncanny ability to recognize and publish literary works that were, at the time, brand-new, but that we now consider classics. Blount was the chief publisher of the first collection of Shakespeare's plays, in 1623 (the Shakespeare "First Folio"). Who was this man, Edward Blount? How did he choose authors to publish? What has been the impact of decisions made in 1600's on the culture of the 21 century? These are some of the questions Taylor strives to answer through his research.
Dr. Taylor, invited to give the 2006 D.F. McKenzie lectures at Oxford University, focused on Edward Blount. The D.F. McKenzie lectures are given by distinguished scholars on the history of the book, scholarly editing, or bibliography and the sociology of texts. Dr. Taylor received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002-2003 to support his research. His Moment by Moment by Shakespeare (1985) garnered a Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Book, and his Oxford University Press edition of Shakespeare's Complete Works (1986, 2nd ed. 2005) is widely regarded as the most innovative and important Shakespeare edition of our time.
Edward Blount was a capitalist who published Shakespeare's works and was almost bankrupted from this venture. But, according to Dr. Taylor, Blount had a "multi-cultural vision," which impacts the literature we read today. He funded not only the publication of Shakespeare, but also Montague and Cervantes, among many others.
Paradoxes are fascinating to Dr. Taylor. The humanities are not necessarily paired in our minds with capitalism. However, Mr. Blount, by taking the capitalist risk of funding the publication of the writings of William Shakespeare, has left his footprint on our humanities instruction for centuries. Blount belongs to what Taylor calls "the history of text technologies," the focus of one of FSU's first cluster-hiring initiatives in the "Pathways of Excellence" program.
Dr. Taylor made an early decision not to study law but literature. "I make less money," he says, "but I have more fun." He loves language because it enables us to tell stories about the world in which we all live. It seems he has a lot in common with "The Bard."