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Meet our Authors: A.V.C. Schmidt – January 2016

A. V. C. Schmidt, Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, is a leading international authority on William Langland. His Piers Plowman: A Parallel-Text Edition has been called ‘a monumental achievement,’ written with ‘controlled passion’ (Speculum), and a work of ‘grand majesty’, expressed ‘with grace and confident clarity’ (Journal of English and Germanic Philology).

His most recent title, Passion and Precision: Collected Essays on English Poetry from Geoffrey Chaucer to Geoffrey Hill, illustrates the wide range of his interests and expertise outside the field of the Langland studies collected in Earthly Honest Things: Collected Essays on Piers Plowman, to which Passion and Precision now forms an indispensable companion.

Carl describes the experience of publishing both volumes with Cambridge Scholars Publishing:


When I retired as Tutorial Fellow in English at Balliol College in 2011, I decided to collect my shorter studies of Piers Plowman as a supplement to my major publications, editions and translations of the poem. Many of the essays were not readily accessible and I also had two new unpublished pieces for inclusion. When I approached Cambridge Scholars Publishing, I received a prompt acceptance of my proposal to revise the essays and include the new ones in a substantial book Earthly Honest Things: Collected Essays on Piers Plowman, which appeared in 2012. The editorial process was efficient and the final product a handsome hardback book with cover and frontispiece just as I had requested. The book makes available a number of studies, many of them pioneering, complete with index and bibliography, in a form that libraries and individual scholars will find useful and highly convenient.

In 2014, I proposed a second collection of my non-Langlandian essays on a range of English poets from the medieval to the modern period. This volume of twenty chapters, Passion and Precision: Collected Essays on English Poetry from Geoffrey Chaucer to Geoffrey Hill (2015), again allowed me to collect and revise a number of previously published pieces and to add four new studies. These included a substantial 50-page essay on Troilus and Criseyde based on lectures I had given at Oxford in my last years in the English Faculty, too long for a periodical but too short for a book. This second volume underwent a number of changes after CSP accepted my initial proposal, among them extension of the book's length by nearly 100 pages. I particularly appreciated the flexibility of the publishers and their generous allowance of all the space I needed. These changes were made with a minimum of fuss, and since I was assigned the same editor as for the previous volume, the preparation of the book for publication went ahead smoothly and accommodated my most minute demands for particular fonts (Middle English and Greek), as well as relieving me of the burden of adapting my electronic text to the particular requirements of a rigid house style.

My experience of working with Cambridge Scholars was a happy one, and I would recommend other literary scholars who have a coherent and attractive proposal of the kind I produced to consider submitting it for evaluation. The response-time from the Editorial Board was exactly as promised, something that scholars do not always find with larger academic firms. Both my publishing and production editors were prompt and helpful in answer to my queries and requests. Finally, the published price for a well-produced hardback of 460pp was very competitive, at a time when academic books of half the length may cost as much.


As part of the Meet our Authors campaign, we are offering our readers a 50% discount on Passion and Precision: Collected Essays on English Poetry from Geoffrey Chaucer to Geoffrey Hill. To redeem your discount, please enter the promotional code MOAJAN16 during checkout. Please note that this is a time-limited offer that will expire on 15th February 2016.


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