A Rationale of Textual Criticism - download pdf or read online

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 usually thought of an venture initial to literary feedback: many of us think that the activity of textual critics is to supply trustworthy texts for literary critics to research. G. Thomas Tanselle argues, to the contrary, that the 2 actions can't be separated.The textual critic, in picking out between textual versions and correcting what seem to be textual blunders, unavoidably workouts serious judgment and displays a specific standpoint towards the character of literature. And the literary critic, in examining the which means of a piece or passage, should be (though hardly is) serious of the make-up of each textual content of it, together with these produced through scholarly editors.

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There is no detail that is not potentially significant for interpreting meaning and assessing the writer's frame of mind. Some characteristics of a manuscript text, such as the hurried or careful formation of letters, cannot readily be reflected in a transcription, but the spelling and punctuation, as deciphered by the transcriber, can be. Handwritten and typewritten materials often contain textual deletions and insertions as well, and not to print the deleted matter or note which words were inserted is to misrepresent the documentary texts.

But it is a tremendous leap to saybecause a setting of type can be reused to print more than one copythat the copies printed from a setting of type are in fact identical. 49 page_50 < previous page page_50 next page > Page 50 copy, as does the printing of that copy itself. Frequently "stop-press corrections" may take place, producing an altered text in the succeeding copies of a sheet; and other such alterations may be made when the type for other sheets is on the press. Then these varying copies of individual sheets may be gathered in many different combinations to form copies of books.

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. Works were interpreted in the light of their creators' lives, milieux, and motivations. 45 page_34 < previous page page_34 next page > Page 34 by the creators of the works. This approach exists in various forms, some more divorced than others from the study of history; but despite the differences between the ''new criticism'' of one period and the "structuralism" or the "deconstruction" of another, these ways of perceiving works of art share a tendency to emphasize product over process, to focus on readers' (or viewers' or listeners') responses to works rather than on the historical forces (including authors' intentions) that shaped them.

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A Rationale of Textual Criticism by G. Thomas Tanselle


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