Theorizing modernism essays in critical theory
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Essay Modernism Postmodernism. Modernism Vs Post Modernism. Essay Laatpostmodernisme Anika Franke. For what they represent is the genuinely other manifestation, the visual face, of the textual and, as it were, logocentric renderings of the transmissions edited. So to revise our awareness of document visualisations has a bearing especially on the editorial sub-discipline if I so may call it of editing draft manuscripts.
These are by nature spatial, and thus to be apprehended visually before textual sense is and often even before textual sense can be made of them.
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It is for this vast range of our cultural heritage that the vision holds as expressed above , namely that, while we will continue to read books, we may look forward to studying editions that live in the digital medium. To this however must now be added my further contention that manuscript editing, that is, the editing of manuscripts from private transmission such as notes and notebooks, drafts, diaries or letters, belongs exclusively in the digital medium, since it can only there be exercised comprehensively.
This is so because from out of the potential inherent in the virtuality of the medium it is alone possible to encompass and represent the multiply double nature of private-transmission manuscripts. First, what such manuscripts contain and present is double-natured: it is processual, since it is writing; and it is, or points to, the result of writing processes, namely text.
In another respect, private-transmission manuscripts are double-natured as documents: in a medial dimension, they function as carriers of text requiring to be read; yet at the same time, they have a material existence and an autograph quality for which they must be seen. Third, what text they carry is evident, that is: can be read directly from them; yet the meaning of the traces which the writing processes have left on them, and the interplay of those traces with the document materiality itself, can be elicited, if at all, by inference only and hence will always require critical interpretation.
Thus double-pronged, manuscript editing in the digital medium constitutes a fundamental extension of the modes of scholarly editing. For it is in the digital medium only that the imaging of the third dimension of the manuscript space by means of link-related document visualisations may be realised.
Nottingham Interdisciplinary Modernism Research Network
This, in turn, renders possible, too, an illusioning of the fourth dimension of time which is implied in the successive filling-in of the manuscript space. Consequently, manuscript editing performed in what we now may recognise and embrace as its native medium allows the experiencing of the processes, and simultaneously of the results, of writing and of texting in manuscripts.
Manuscript editing in the digital medium is a superior base of operation, for instance, for genetic criticism. Drafts supply not merely textual evidence. To elicit such evidence presupposes a distinct interpretation of the material drafts, and the writing and writing patterns on them. For, rightly regarded, our acts of editing always require an admixture of interpretation and interpretive criticism. To edit a draft simply involves extending that requirement. In drafts, we interpret not only groupings of letters as words and thus read them as texts. Since we cannot thereupon express our findings in other than our own words, the analysis and editing of a draft manuscript translates by nature as it were into presentation and representation closely interlaced with critical commentary.
The editorial object is set free for study in the logical, as well as virtual, digital space.
This is where recognising the primacy of the document — meaning that texts are, logically, always functions of the documents transmitting them — becomes essential. It is exactly where, and when, the text is and remains separate from the material support of its transmission that the material parameters of that support need to be adjudicated as potential determinants for the digital edition.
To see the text fundamentally as a function of the document helps to recognise afresh that in all transmission and all editing, texts are and, if properly recognised, always have been constructed from documents. To edit texts critically means, precisely, to construct them. Conversely, the constructed texts of editions are in essence the products of criticism. This is as true in the essentially two-dimensional medium of paper and the book as it is in the virtual, multi-dimensional digital medium. Therefore, in theorizing the digital edition of the future, we need to account, too, for the critical dimension, indeed the critical nature of the editorial enterprise and its outcome in the scholarly edition.
The text of a scholarly edition represents, as one might say, the distillate of textual criticism well exercised. Text and edition are not coextensive. In its composite complexity, rather, the scholarly edition as a whole is both the product and the facilitator of scholarship and criticism. It is an instrument to organise knowledge through aggregating and thickening the givens of transmissions and their historically variable textual as well as contextual shapes and understandings through reception. Being that instrument, it enables analysis and generates knowledge in continuity, too, from the multiple of discourses that in total it organises.
Looking at the matter historically may help us understand the contingencies of our present perceptions. One determinant to be singled out is that the one correlation I am insisting on, namely that editing and editions are systemically a function of textual criticism, and a partial one at that, appears historically to have originated in the reverse. In the oldest traditions, editing was the prime cultural activity, and it was only in its service that procedures of thought and logic were invented and so devised as to systematise the pragmatic exercise of editing. Only exceptionally, too, does it enter the awareness of the readers and users of editions: they — we — only seldom stop to reflect what text-critical penetration and judgement is assumed and may be required to assess and appreciate that stuff which editions at their surface offer as texts.
The focus of the practice and the techniques was on stemming the progressive deterioration of the cultural heritage preserved in documents — a deterioration affecting not merely the material substratum of papyrus, parchment or paper or, indeed, stone as well as the inks and colours of inscription, but the writing, the texts themselves, in the documents.
The juridical premise should give us pause, as should a fortiori the ethical one, so perceptibly tinged with religious morals. It is not in its nature to produce and deliver faultless, that is, correct and pure, texts. This is so not only because the correct, pure, definitive or however else adjectivally idealised text simply cannot be achieved through any editorial practice, let alone theory; it is so also because to set such goals for editing is fundamentally misconceived, for they go against the nature as well as the historicity of texts and, by extension, the epistemological dimension of the voice through which texts are articulated, that is: the voice of human language that lives through the empowering energy of semantic multivalence.
Closure, admittedly, must be a real tendency of texts, one that also meets a readerly desire — or we could not have been living for so long in the happy delusion of being able, editorially or discursively, to attain definitive texts and interpretations.
In truth, though, the critic as well as the textual critic and editor live alike in a constant see-saw alternation between a Newtonian and an Einsteinian understanding of the nature of texts. A scholarly edition consists essentially, rather, as we have said, in the argument that holds together and unites its several orders of discourse.
This proposition is of considerable importance for outlining a fresh perspective. The model I am advocating for scholarly editing in the twenty-first century is predicated on the functional correlation of bodies of material content in a systemics of discourses and argument. So to think, or re-think it means to link back to the traditions of longest standing within the historical endeavour to which scholarly editing belongs, and which are main traditions also in the cultural pedigree of editions.
Scholarly editions of old, as we know, stood comprehensively in the service of understanding the texts and works they assumed their role in transmitting. Not only did their editors analyse, assess and evaluate textual transmissions as textual transmissions; they explored historically, critically and culturally, too, the works they presented in their editions.
To reestablish comprehensively the critical dimension of the scholarly edition, it is important to bring these traditions fully-fledged into focus again. Indeed, this is an essential precondition if and when we wish to project the scholarly edition of the twenty-first century as an edition capable of meeting the expectations of being based in criticism, scholarship and learning, and of being deployable, in its turn, as a platform and an instrument to enable critical analysis and generate knowledge and learning.
In crossing the divide from print to the digital medium, the scholarly edition is undergoing significant conceptual modifications. These will stand out most clearly through its commentary discourse. The edition as scholarly product stands the chance of becoming, that is: of becoming again, a node and main juncture of text and knowledge. It is thereby implicated in the nature and historicity of human knowledge and understanding in which texts and their historicity are always already embedded. In the orthodoxies of annotation and commentary in the material medium of paper and the book, the embedding of the texts in their historicities has traditionally been almost exclusively understood as keyable, item by item, to the words and phrases of the text.
The knowledge that textual and explanatory notes jointly carry has been seen as positive knowledge — which is why it has been feasible, and considered unproblematic, to chop it up into fragmented apparatus entries. It often enough makes sense simply to give a dictionary definition of a word, or to cite snippets of encyclopaedic factual information — as often as not, it may be all that we want to be told in the moment of reading.
Nonetheless, we have in our day increasing problems with the stance of positivism behind such compilation, and item-by-item imparting, of positive knowledge. Fundamentally, knowledge is hermeneutically relational. For it is only by its contexts that a text is definable, and defined, in its words, meanings and implications: in what it says and does not say.
This, in itself, is not a new insight. In the Renaissance, when books first became the medium for editions, printers devised breathtaking layouts adapted, in turn, from medieval manuscripts for surrounding texts with commentaries, often themselves again cross-referenced. In effect, they attempted to construct in print the relationality of what today are called hypertexts.
From such exuberant beginnings, conventions of marginalia and footnotes, as well as great varieties of indexes, have solidly survived. They have, in books, all been attempts to offset by relational cross-patternings the ineluctable linearity and sequentiality of the page and the codex. This, consequently, is precisely where and when the relational commentary comes into its own.
6. Theorizing the Digital Scholarly Edition
Constructed over a web of links, it should be envisaged as the modelling of the scholarly edition of text-and-commentary as a knowledge site. With its commentary discourse digitally systematised on such terms, the scholarly edition as the digital edition of the future may, in the last resort, be constituted as that hub of criticism and knowledge we would desire: to reflect, in multifaceted relationality, the given texts, works, and writers, their everyday reality, and the thought and worldview of their times.
Scholarly editing of the future has the potential to distill, as well as engender, both historical study and criticism. Herein lies both the task and the vision for the digital edition in the twenty-first century. Jerome J. This is culturally a fascinating strand in the traditions of editing.