The 800-page folio Reliquiae Baxterianae: or, Mr. Richard Baxter's narrative of the Most Memorable Passages of his Life and Times (1696) consists of autobiographical papers, with supporting documents, written in the main in 1664, 1665 and 1670-85, covering the seventy-year period from Baxter's birth in 1615, most expansively the years following the restoration of monarchy and Charles II's return in 1660. Its editor was the nonconformist minister Matthew Sylvester (1636?-1708). \n\nThe significance of Reliquiae Baxterianae is three-fold. First, it is an unrivalled primary historical source for seventeenth-century English political, religious, social, cultural and literary history. Baxter offers a first-hand account of events at the highest level (he met, and comments on, Cromwell, Charles II, Clarendon, Sheldon) but he is also (particularly through his ministry) a witness to the experiences of a great range of provincial members of the mercantile, clerical, artisan and agricultural classes. \n\nSecondly, the Reliquiae is a foundation text for eighteenth-century ecclesiastical and historiographical traditions. Its vindication of moderate Puritanism and its accounts of the early nonconformists passed Baxterianism on to eighteenth-century dissent. In this respect, the Reliquiae was an early contributor to the literary civil war prompted by the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688/89 to determine the master narrative of seventeenth-century English history. \n\nThirdly, Baxter's was one of the most acute intelligences and complex personalities of the period. He was fascinated by individuality, by temperament and by psychology, his own as much as others'. The Reliquiae is rich in sharply realised and acute characterisations and in passages of remarkably perceptive self-scrutiny and reflection, leading to its being hailed as one of the masterpieces of early autobiographical writing in the English tradition and as a key text in the development of both historiography and autobiography as distinct literary genres.\n\nSylvester, however, was an unskilful editor, confessing himself 'deeply sensible of my inability for such Work' as editing Baxter's 'great quantity of loose Papers'. His edition is disfigured by an inconsistent formal arrangement, confused in its narrative shape and chronology, interrupted by blocks of documentation, textually inaccurate and incomplete. Scholars have repeatedly lamented that the range and richness of the primary evidence in this densely referential work of great length (c. 1,000,000 words) is consequently largely inaccessible. 'No book of its importance was ever worse edited' observed the Unitarian historian Alexander Gordon. The Reliquiae is the most significant and substantial seventeenth-century work of personal record never to have received scholarly editorial attention (compare Bunyan, Burnet, Clarendon, Evelyn, Morrice, Pepys). \n\nTo address this need N. H. Keeble is leading an editorial team that has been commissioned by OUP to prepare a fully annotated five-volume scholarly edition. The edition will establish an accurate and reliable text, working from the manuscript where this is extant; it will identify, gloss and index every person, incident and topic mentioned; it will give a full bibliographical account of the text, set out the history of its composition and publication, and discuss its reception; and a full introduction will explore the nature and significance of the text.\n\nThis project is strongly supported by the Trustees of Dr. Williams's Library, which holds much of the extant manuscript, and by the Dr. Williams's Centre for Dissenting Studies, of which Dr. David Wykes and Professor Isabel Rivers are co-directors. (An account of the project is available at http://www.english.qmul.ac.uk/drwilliams/research/baxter.html.) There is one coinvestigator, Professor John Coffey of Leicester University, and one academic partner, Dr Tim Cooper of Otago University.