The policies governing the Society are formulated and discussed at open meetings of the membership, held in conjunction with the annual MLA conventions. A letter about the meeting and other Society matters is mailed to the membership in November of each year. Nominations are entertained at the annual meeting for ofﬁcers and for positions on the Society’s Executive Council and any active member is eligible for nomination and election.
The Renaissance English Text Society was founded in 1965 by a group of distinguished textual editors in the United States who sought to publish scarce literary texts, chiefly nondramatic, of the period 1475-1660. The Society followed the example of The Malone Society in England which concentrated on Renaissance English plays and related documents. The founding RETS Council supervising the society was composed of G. Blakemore Evans, James G. McManaway, James M. Wells, Lloyd E. Berry, Gerald Eades Bentley, Hugh G. Dick, Louis L. Martz, W. A. Ringer, Jr., S. Schoenbaum, M. A. Shaaber, and Ernest Sirluck; T. S. Dorsch represented the Society in Britain and overseas. The first titles, published that year, were Merie Tales of Gotam, edited by Stanley J. Kahrl and The History of Tom Thumbe, edited by Curt F. Buhler. At first two volumes a year were published under the auspices of the Newberry Library, the Folger Library, and Associated University Presses. In 1984 the Society’s publications moved to the State University of New York at Binghamton where, under the supervision of Mario de Cesare, head of Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies (MRTS), books were published annually.
When W. Speed Hill of the CUNY Graduate School became president, the Society sought readers from all over the world and membership doubled. When Professor Hill was succeeded by Arthur F. Kinney as President, Hill inaugurated a series of edited collections—New Ways of Looking at Old Texts—as a way of preserving and disseminating papers sponsored by the Society at such conferences as MLA, RSA, Kalamazoo, and Sixteenth Century Society. Speed Hill edited this series until his death in 2006 when he was succeeded by Michael Denbo and then Arthur F. Marotti. Meanwhile, in 1995 the Society’s publications moved to the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies housed at Arizona State University under the direction of Professor Robert Bjork. After Joseph Black became President, the Society’s publications moved to Iter, creating fresh possibilities for print, digital, and hybrid editions.
The annual Josephine A. Roberts Forum of papers on editing is named for Jo, whose completed edition of Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania Book I, from the 1621 printed book, had been the largest RETS project to date. She was hard at work on Volume II of the Urania, from the Newberry Library manuscript, a foundational Renaissance English text rarely consulted, when she died in a car accident. Other recent losses include Professor Hill; Margaret-Therese Davies, a former Council member representing France; and Carolyn Cassady Kent, for twenty years Secretary of the Council and supervisor of the Roberts Forum at conferences. The Society has helped to establish memorials for all three.
Officers and Council Members
- President: Joseph Black, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Vice-President: Mary Ellen Lamb, Southern Illinois University
- Second Vice-President: Beth Quitslund, University of Ohio
- Secretary: Emily A. Ransom, Holy Cross College
- Publisher: William R. Bowen, ITER
- Reid Barbour, University of North Carolina
- Victoria Burke, University of Ottawa
- Joshua Eckhardt, Virginia Commonwealth University
- Clare Costley King’oo, University of Connecticut
- Gregory Kneidel, University of Connecticut
- Arthur F. Marotti, Wayne State University
- Steve May, Emory University
- Susannah B. Monta, University of Notre Dame
- Jason Powell, Saint Joseph’s University
- Anne Lake Prescott, Barnard College
- Mark Rankin, James Madison University
- Cathy Shrank, University of Sheffield
- Raymond G. Siemens, University of Victoria
- President Emeritus: Arthur F. Kinney, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Original design by Gels Saby and Karin Armstrong, Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, University of Victoria. Maintenance 2012-20 by Dale Williams, Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship, Calvin College.
- Website redeveloped 2021 by Ansh Thayil and Luis Meneses, Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, University of Victoria.
- Website updated and maintained by Maestra Web Design, 2023.