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St. Michael's College Courses
Lindsey Eckert

November 15, 2011 Textual Criticism and Textual Editing Office Hours: Lindsey: Wednesdays 9:30-11:30 AM, Alumni Hall 303 Catherine: this Thursday 2-4 pm, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library Catherine: this Thursday 5-7 pm, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library - Endpapers - associated with binding, not text itself - Not part of collation statement --> describe in binding description - Book starts with title page! (Don’t count the paper at the beginning or end) - Endpapers -- often scrap paper that’s been re-used - Some books may have been bound together (i.e. someone bound a couple of his favorite books) Textual Editing - Digital editing has really grown and messed up traditional methods of editing and publishing Editions of Texts - In our contemporary historical moment, the availability of texts is unprecedented - Project Gutenberg, e-books of texts that are no longer in copyright, Google Books, print on demand books (on Amazon, if you want a rare/hard-to-find book, you can get someone to print it for you cheaply) - Quantity and access of not necessarily mean quality: pros and cons for buying an edited edition or a free one online - Without bibliography, textual editing cannot happen - scholars need to know they’re talking about the same text, that other people have access to the same edition - Without “quality” editions, literary criticism cannot happen effectively - What is a “quality” edition? - What does it mean you buy the Dover paperback vs. Penguin vs. Norton? - Intro, notes, etc. - Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, much editing of literary work was based on aesthetic preferences - Editors sought to produce “good” texts: - E.g. Adding lines to Paradise Lost - Editing - has its own history; books as physical and textual objects evolved - Thomas Bowlder’s 4-volume The Family Shakespeare (1807) - “Many words and expressions occur which are of so indecent a nature as to render it highly desirable that stye should be erased” (vol. 1, page viii) - Cleaning up dirty bits in Shakespeare - British poet John Clare’s texts were heavily edited in his lifetime — sometimes with his approval and sometimes not - Peasant farmer, barely literate and self-taught; ignored grammar rules - His editors cleaned up his grammar so other people could understand - As he got more popular, he got mad at his editors for taking away parts of his poems - changing spelling and grammar, dirty poems - In a letter to his publisher in 1822: “grammer in learning is like Tyranny in government — confound the bitch and Ill never be her slave” - Usually his writing is unpunctuated = very hard to read - Should editors make poets like Clare a “slave” to grammar and normative spelling? Should we “rescue” him from his earlier editors? -Letters of John Clare. Ed. Mark Storey. Oxford: Clarendon, 1985 -Complete Poetry. Ed. Eric Robinson. OUP, 1984-2003 -Robinson’s idea: go back to the manuscript; leave everything unpunctuated -Some people say Robinson takes away from Clare’s poetry: it makes it unreadable, even though it’s the original -Are you going back to the author’s intentions? Who are you to say what Clare wanted? In his letters, he thanked the editor for cleaning up his work. Editions: Things to Consider -What qualifies as a “quality” edition or a useful edition depends on a number of factors: 1. Purpose 2. Audience 3. Other extant scholarly editions available 1. Purpose -Correct misunderstandings about text’s genesis -An edition of a text that has never been published -Text that accounts for all variants - tells you every change in every edition -Basic reading text with annotations 2. Audience -Who will use the edition? - The general public → simple - Students → looking for historical context for essays - Literary scholars → might want list of variants at the back -Textual historians 3. Other extant scholarly editions available -You don’t want to reinvent the wheel, unless it’s been done badly before -Is one type of edition available but not another type? -What else is out there? What do you need to complete edition? -Almost no text exists in one straightforward edition: almost any text anyone goes through to edit -- need lots of interpretation -Multiple manuscripts -Different editions published throughout an author’s life -Texts that exist in various (incomplete) states at the author’s death - which is “right”? -Texts that were heavily edited by an author’s publishers and editors - without or with the author’s consent -Variants invoiced into the text by compositors What is Textual Criticism? -“The study of the transmission of texts and the application of this to scholarly editing” (Williams and Abbott 167) ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ Textual criticism = ▯ ▯ ▯ material bibliography + book history circuit (Communications Circuit - Robert Darnton) -Part hard-core bibliography + social considerations - Elements within: reception of the text - of book -Textual editing - general term with many subdivisions Textual Editing Documentary Editing Critical Editing Facsimile Variorum Genetic theory of the copy-text Geneaological Historical-CriticalEditing -2 separate branches: documentary editing + critical editing -There’s some overlap between two “camps” -Author’s intentions: critical editing -Hard-core bibliographers viewing books as artifacts: documentary editing Documentary editing Critical Editing -Reproduces a manuscript -Often produces a new or printed text as a text, which combines
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