Genetic criticism distinguishes between the undifferentiated documentary mass and the ‘foretext,’ that mass transcribed, selected, and arranged in such a way that it can be of use for criticism. For the documentary mass as such - chaotic, often illegible, uncircumscribed - cannot be used for any critical purpose until it has been so organized. A major methodological problem is how to make that move from the documentary mass to the foretext, which has a critical status and can be analyzed by the reader-scholar. Clearly, the foretext is a corpus of signs - mostly words, but including punctuation, crossings-out, at times drawings, etc. It is not, on the other hand, the totality of documents.

(Bowman 1990, 634)

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