21 Jan 2009

‘Outstanding Academic Title’ award for publication by Open University Academic

Bob Owens, Professor of English Literature at The Open University, has been awarded an ‘Outstanding Academic Title’ by Choice, the review journal of the American Library Association, for his work The Novels of Daniel Defoe.

The Novels brings to completion the 44-volume edition of The Works of Daniel Defoe, of which Professor Owens is joint General Editor. His own editions of Robinson Crusoe and the Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe are the first two volumes of The Novels set.

Defoe's position in English literature is pre-eminently as a novelist, and Robinson Crusoe is one of the earliest and most influential works of fiction ever published in English. This edition represents the first authoritative scholarly edition of all eight of his novels. It provides readers with extensive explanatory and textual notes, clarifying particularly the relationship of the novels to the rest of Defoe's extraordinary and multifarious body of writing.

Speaking of his award, Professor Owens said: “For the edition to have been given this accolade in its final stages is very pleasing indeed, not only for me but for my colleague and joint General Editor, Nick Furbank, Emeritus Professor of The Open University, for the twelve international scholars who edited individual volumes, and for Pickering & Chatto our publishers".

The criteria for the award are:
• Overall excellence in presentation and scholarship
• Importance relative to other literature in the field
• Distinction as a first treatment of a given subject in book or electronic form
• Originality or uniqueness of treatment
• Value to undergraduate students
• Importance in building undergraduate library collections.

Professor Owens’s next project is to complete an edition of the 1611 Authorised King James Version of The Gospels for publication by Oxford University Press.

Editor’s Notes
The Works of Daniel Defoe, an edition in 44 volumes has been appearing at the rate of 4 or 5 volumes every year since 2000. The award of ‘Outstanding Academic Title’ is given to about ten percent of some 7,000 works reviewed in Choice over the year. The 2008 list, published in the January 2009 issue (vol. 46, no. 5) includes 679 titles from 54 disciplines. There were 38 titles in the section on English and American Language and Literature, in which the Defoe edition was included.

The journal Choice has a circulation of over 35,000 copies to academic librarians as well as academics in the USA.

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