I have finally be granted a six month research leave and I am now totally immerse int he writing of The Book.
One of the things I am reflecting upon is the weight we give to documentary evidences in textual scholarship.
The graph below shows in a simplified (and utterly imprecise) way the collocation of some most important editorial theories with respect to the centrality they give to the documentary evidence (the materiality of the text).
Similarly, editorial format can be equally distributed on a continuous line
While presenting a very complex reality of theoretical positions in an over simplistic way, these graphs have the advantage of showing the path between text and document as a continuum, with no clearly defined boundaries.
The collocation is not scientifically wighted, it is just the approximate collocation I would give to them. Comments?
Well, stemmatology relies completely on evidence drawn from documents, so I cannot understand how it can be closer to "Text-immateriality." Of course, I cannot see the text as immaterial, as text is a physical entity.ReplyDelete
Yes, but all of the editorial theories in that first graph (or: scholarly editing in general) rely completely on evidence drawn from documents... The evidence stemmatological scholars are looking for (to reduce a material document to a node in a genealogical stemma) is almost purely textual (/lexical). Or at least it will be, until computational age-dating techniques have evolved to such a stage where they can make a complete genealogical study of a work simply by sampling the documents.Delete
You are both quite right and I was too quick: what I meant for document there is "documentary", or, if you prefer, text-of-works in the immateriality side and texts-of-documents in the materiality side. In this graph I distinguish document as physical objects (material) from texts as words, which I call immaterial. It is more complicated of course, and I will post more very soonReplyDelete
Dirk and Peter Shillingsburg are close to publishing an article called 'Orientations to Text, Revisited' that you might find useful. They rethought Peter's original orientations in SECA into: material, temporal, causal, genetic, performative and aesthetic. I think in your continuum it would roughly be:Delete
temporal - causal - genetic - material
Aesthetic and performative are more difficult, because aesthetic (arguably) (often) completely disregards both text and document, and performative sort of takes the work outside of the text/document continuum by focussing on the relation between the work and the public sphere.
Ahhh, this is cool! I'm working a full conceptual model of the same stuff! Will try to convince Dirk and Peter to let me have a preview then!Delete
Yes, it's great stuff. I'm also using it for my thesis, which explores the relation between scholarly editing and the genetic orientation further, and takes the BDMP as a case study.Delete
I'll add my bit here. I think 'works' are also material, actual objects -- or rather, collections of objects. And I disagree with Wout about the 'immateriality' of stemmatics: we are concerned with the actual historical connections between material documents, which we approach by comparison of the material texts present in those documents. We also use codicological, palaeographic, and other physical evidence to refine the genetic hypotheses we develop.ReplyDelete
Ah yes, you are right of course: I admit I put it too strongly by using 'almost purely'. Would I still have been wrong if I had used 'primarily' instead? Because in most cases transcription errors and anachronisms offer the most decisive arguments in stemmatological research, don't they? But even if they do, the importance of physical evidence would still move 'stemmatic' more to the right of the continuum (as I interpreted it), probably passing at least 'copy-text' along the way.Delete
Personally, I wouldn't call 'works' material, because for me (following Shillingsburg) 'work' is a conceptual term. While the 'work' comprises the different 'documents' (physical objects) that contain its different 'texts' (character sequences), it isn't a physical object in itself. For me, the (material, fixed) documents contain the texts that each represent the (conceptual, mutable) work more or less successfully. But that's of course another discussion.
Thanks guys for all your comments so far! I'm enjoying the discussion exceedingly as I'm working on these concepts right now.ReplyDelete
I'm with Wout here. Mind you, there is no judgement of value here: the fact that stemmatics combines together readings coming from different witnesses means that it consider the reading of a manuscript less stringent than, say, material philology and this is what I meant to say here. All these editorial approaches make use of documents, this is where texts can be found at the end of the day.
And again, here there is no methodological reproach. Personally, I think that each of these approaches are correct in the right circumstances. There are traditions for which only stemmatics would do, the same for genetic editing or new philology. I would never dream to use genetic criticism on Dante, nor I would use stemmatics on Whitman.
For me too Work is not material: but I'll come back shortly on this too!