Editorial Notes

The original copy-text used for this web edition of Modern Chivalry was the 1937 edition edited by Claude Newlin. It is the most recent edition to include parts one and two. The most recent available edition, Lewis Leary's 1965 New College and University Press edition, contained only part one, and at present is out of print. Newlin used the original serialized editions for his copy-text, proofed against the first editions of the text in novel form (1815). In his preface, Newlin states that by his publication of the serialized edition "the reader will be following the successive parts as they first made their impact on the American public. The revised text of 1815 has been used only for the correction of misprints in the first editions" (v).

The serialized editions were published in this order:

Part I

  • Volume I (1792)
  • Volume II (1792)
  • Volume III (1793)
  • Volume IV (1797)

Part II

  • Volume I (1804)
  • Volume II (1805)
  • Volume IV (1815)


The 1815 and 1819 editions were the last for which Brackenridge himself provided editorial input, and it seems clear that Brackenridge envisioned the novel editions as something different from the original serialized publications. In addition to more minor changes in spelling, capitalization, and punctuation, Brackenridge authorized some considerable changes in 1815. One chapter was completely omitted, and the original introduction to volume three of part one was considerably shortened. In several places Brackenridge consolidated shorter chapters, streamlined the system of volumes, books and chapters, and made changes to character names and diction. In 1819, Brackenridge authorized additional streamlining, combining more chapters that were originally shorter to give the narration greater readability by keeping like material together. He also edited the text more heavily, removing redundancies or wordiness. These changes seem to indicate that he intended the revised form to replace the serial editions. For that reason, I have chosen to present the revised 1819 edition as the main navigational path for this web edition.

In making this choice, I in no way intend to imply that the first edition of the text is unimportant or that the deleted material had no value as text. Much of the excised material was (and remains) interesting historically, adds to the satire of the work, and gives insight into Brackenridge's inclinations, interests, and revision practices. Therefore, because this web edition allows some flexibility, I have been able to provide material from all editions within one web presentation. While the text as read chronologically reflects Brackenridge's later novel edition, it also provides the excised material and revisions via links. The illustrations used for this web edition come from Newlin's 1937 edition. The small images on the table of contents page may be enlarged to show greater detail by clicking them. A pop up box will appear with the larger version, without taking the reader to a new page. All notes appear in a separate window so that the reader can access the notes while keeping her place in the text.

This web text, then, appears as the 1819 edition would have, with in-text links to present deleted material or to indicate major changes from the serial edition. The table of contents pages for this web contain a one sentence "summary" of the contents of each chapter. These summaries are the work of this web author, not Brackenridge. I have supplied these summaries as a navigational guide for readers, and have styled them in a manner consistent with the tables of contents used in other 18th and 19th-century novels.

For a more detailed discussion of the Chivalry Web Text, and the problems associated with electronic texts in general, see "Modern Chivalry and the Case for Electronic Texts"

Any questions, comments, or suggestions for the Modern Chivalry web can be addressed to Janice McIntire-Strasburg.