Download e-book for kindle: A Rationale of Textual Criticism by G. Thomas Tanselle

By G. Thomas Tanselle

ISBN-10: 0812214099

ISBN-13: 9780812214093

Textual criticism—the conventional time period for the duty of comparing the authority of the phrases and punctuation of a text—is frequently thought of an project initial to literary feedback: many folks think that the task of textual critics is to supply trustworthy texts for literary critics to investigate. G. Thomas Tanselle argues, to the contrary, that the 2 actions can't be separated.The textual critic, in making a choice on between textual editions and correcting what seem to be textual mistakes, necessarily workouts severe judgment and displays a specific standpoint towards the character of literature. And the literary critic, in analyzing the that means of a piece or passage, has to be (though infrequently is) serious of the make-up of each textual content of it, together with these produced by way of scholarly editors.

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Everyone who reads begins with physical evidence, inked letterforms on a surface; but few continue very far the process of attempting to find out what can be learned about the production of a document (and its text) from the physical clues present in it. Readers do have some assistance they can draw on: there are scholars who specialize in this kind of work (now generally called analytical bibliography) and some who incorporate the results into detailed accounts of the physical appearance, structure, and production of written and printed documents (now usually called descriptive bibliographies).

We can forever speculate in essays and in conversations about the texts of a painting or a sculpture at various times in the past or about what we wish they had been, but we have the painting and the sculpture to look at and can at least see what their texts are in the present. Or what we think they are: although no two of us may see an object the same way, still we are responding directly to what we believe to be a physical object. But no textembodied on paper or film or in memoryof a literary, musical, choreographic, or cinematic work can serve this function because none of them is the work.

Because the media of those works do not admit of their being directly transmitted in tangible form, there is no way that we can talk about such works without assuming the responsibility of deciding just what we are talking aboutwithout in effect becoming editors, since the works exist only by virtue of our specifying, in the light of one set of considerations or another, what they contain. Those considerations may or may not be historical. Over the centuries, the bulk of the commentary on works of art has been historically oriented, taking them as the products of the processes that brought them into being.

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A Rationale of Textual Criticism by G. Thomas Tanselle

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