In recent years German editorial discussion has fortunately been increasingly influenced by models from other philologies, such as those of editors in the Romance and the English languages. From the French side the notion of the avant-texte was introduced. Although this concept is not employed uniformly among French textologists, generally on the one hand it means all stages of the text before the publication of a work, and, on the other hand, it indicates only the preliminaries to an author’s composition that lack as yet an actual “textual structure–or, what we would in part subsume under the concept of “paralipomena.” Whether anything is gained editorially by the concept of avant-texte remains questionable. For it isolates a phase in which the author, not yet engaged with the actual “text” of the work, is occupied with the avant-textes, and at times it even opposes these to the completed and as a rule published texts–that is, tot the work in the ordinary sense. In this way, the basic unity of the course of a work’s development is disrupted or even abandoned. The historical process that pushes ahead and determines the development of a work is denied. This, however, has consequences for the editing of the work itself, especially for editing fragmentary or posthumous works. And of course it has consequences in the (exceptional) case of editing works by living authors, when the editor directly intervenes in the creative process of the author. For every work of an author this process ends only with the author’s death, since the possibility always exists that he or she will unexpectedly take up works that were untouched for many years and therefore dormant, and change their texts

(Scheibe 1995, 194)

Contributed by Wout. View changelog.