Front Page Titles (by Subject) EDITORS' NOTE - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume I - Autobiography and Literary Essays
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EDITORS’ NOTE - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume I - Autobiography and Literary Essays 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume I - Autobiography and Literary Essays, ed. John M. Robson and Jack Stillinger, introduction by Lord Robbins (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981).
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The latest authoritative text, printed here on recto pages through p. 259 and on both rectos and versos thereafter, is that of the holograph MS in the Columbia University Library, untitled by Mill but containing two identical notes written and signed by his stepdaughter:
Autobiography of J. S. Mill Written by himself
To be published without alterations or omissions within one year after my death.
The text given on the facing versos is that of the holograph Early Draft MS at the University of Illinois (through p. 246) followed by that of a holograph fragment at Yale headed “Note . . . concerning the participation of my wife in my writings” (pp. 250-8). It should be specially observed, since the co-ordination of early and later versions on facing pages will here and there produce gaps on the page and occasionally even entire pages of blank space that do not exist in the MSS, that both the Early Draft text and the Yale fragment are written continuously from beginning to end, without chapter divisions; in the Columbia MS each chapter begins on a new page, after which the text is written continuously without break to the end of the chapter.
In the accompanying textual apparatus, mainly two kinds of note are used to present a selection of cancellations and other alterations preliminary to the final form of the MS texts. In one of them (e.g., 8c-c), a bracketed “Earlier version” indicates earlier wording that Mill deleted and replaced by the word or span of words enclosed by the superscript letters in the text. In the other (e.g., 6b), which depends on a single superscript in the text, a bracketed “Cancelled text” indicates a word or words that Mill deleted, but did not replace, at the point at which the single superscript occurs. Both kinds of note represent simplifications; they overlook false starts and generally do not distinguish between original and intermediate versions preliminary to the final form of text (at 8c-c Mill first wrote “cannot remember any time . . .” before revising to the wording given in the textual note, and an abandoned intermediate attempt—“have no remembrance of having ever been unable to”—is likewise ignored). They do, however, unless there is explanation to the contrary, give readings that once stood complete in their contexts and that, for the practical purpose of recovering what Mill at one time or another actually wrote, can be substituted or inserted in the text according to the positions designated by the superscripts.
There are also, specifically for the Early Draft, a number of notes explaining the later addition of leaves to the MS, the addition or revision of text “at left” (in the normally blank left-hand half of the MS page), the rearrangement of paragraphs and other sizable portions of text, a selection of pencilled alterations and other markings by Mill’s wife, Harriet Taylor Mill (HTM), and some variant and cancelled readings from the thirty “rejected leaves” retained at the end of the MS (these are designated “R” or “RII” plus folio number in the textual notes, and are described in detail in Appendix G, pp. 608-24 below). The alignment of parallel texts and the length of some notes to the Early Draft have occasionally made it necessary to carry notes over to the facing recto page; to prevent confusion, a rule is used to set them off from the text and notes of the Autobiography.
The Autobiography was published by Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer on 17 October, 1873, five months and ten days after Mill’s death, from a hastily written transcript of the Columbia MS made by Helen Taylor, Mill’s sister Mary Elizabeth Colman, and an unidentified French copyist. Neither the transcript, which is now in the John Rylands Library, Manchester, nor the first printed version has independent authority, and their variants are not included in the textual apparatus here.
The work is not mentioned in Mill’s bibliography. For critical comment and more specific details concerning the manuscripts and the composition and transmission of the text from the Early Draft through the first edition, see the Introduction, pp. vii-xxx above.