The Text World Theory Special Collection

Western Bank Library
Western Bank Library

The Text World Theory Special Collection is housed in Western Bank Library at the University of Sheffield, UK. It is an archive of publications, research resources, and rare unpublished materials relating to the text-world approach to discourse, collected by Professor Joanna Gavins over a fifteen year period.

The History of the Collection

Professor Gavins began putting the collection together in the late 1990s, at a time when resources on Text World Theory were scarce and often difficult to access. During her Doctoral studies, she collected as many publications as possible by the creator of the text-world framework, Professor Paul Werth, dating back to the earliest days of his academic career. Professor Gavins also received numerous donations from Professor Werth’s former colleagues and students, including teaching materials, draft manuscripts, and personal memorabilia. The Text World Theory Special Collection continued to grow in this way over the next decade and a half and was eventually deposited in Western Bank Library by Professor Gavins in 2011.

The collection today includes hard copies of a range of journal articles on text-worlds, many of them from rare or discontinued publications; several draft manuscripts of Professor Werth’s 1999 monograph, Text Worlds: Representing Conceptual Space in Discourse, including the earliest full version of this text known to be in existence; copies of Professor Werth’s lecture notes from his time teaching at the University of Amsterdam during the 1980s and 1990s; a large collection of PhD theses on text-worlds; as well as a variety of key monographs and other major works on Text World Theory published over a period of more than twenty years.

The dramatic improvement in online research facilities over recent years has resulted in much easier access for researchers to key work and information on text-worlds. The range of research on Text World Theory now available on the internet extends far beyond the boundaries of the Text World Theory Special Collection. However, the collection has preserved a wide range of important materials which would otherwise have been lost, and many of which still only exist in hard-copy form in this archive.

Visiting the Collection

The Text World Theory Special Collection is open to all researchers and students interested in the text-world approach to discourse and visits can be arranged by contacting the Special Collections department at the University of Sheffield.

A complete index of all the items contained in the collection is available in the form of an Excel spreadsheet here. The index includes basic bibliographical information, along with keywords and an abstract for each item. Grateful thanks are extended to Aleksandra Vulić, who compiled the index while visiting the University of Sheffield on a student research placement from University College Roosevelt, the Netherlands, in 2017.




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