Lezlie C. Cross. "In the Beaten Way of Friendship: Horace Howard Furness, Edwin Booth, and the New Variorum Shakespeare." Diss. U of Washington, 2013.
In 1866 amateur scholar Horace Howard Furness began work on a new American edition of Shakespeare which he designed to be the ultimate scholarly resource. Inspired by the work of eighteenth-century Shakespearean scholar Edmond Malone, Furness created a new variorum edition of Shakespeare which included the text of each play, extensive textual notes, and a broad selection from the history of critical commentary. But unlike his predecessors, contemporaries, and successors, Furness integrated the history of theatrical production with the history of textual editing. From the beginning of his variorum project, Furness quoted from acting editions and writings by and about actors in his paratextual material. In this dissertation I demonstrate that Furness's belief that Shakespeare's plays were written for the theatre was the guiding editorial principle of his New Variorum project. His commitment to theatrical interpretations was the main criterion in his presentation of Shakespeare's texts and selection of critical commentary.
His long and fruitful friendship with actor Edwin Booth was an exemplar of his dedication to the inclusion of performance history as an essential element of Shakespeare studies which manifested itself in the pages the New Variorum. Furness reached the apex of the project when he integrated detailed commentary that Booth penned on his acting for the New Variorum editions of Othello (1886) and The Merchant of Venice (1888). With this achievement, America's greatest Shakespearean editor and actor fulfilled their joint mission to unite scholarship and practice.
Since Furness's death in 1912, the New Variorum project has been carried forward by his son, Horace Howard Furness Jr., and, upon his death in 1930, by the Modern Language Association (MLA).