The avant-texte designates, in the work of the writer, the chain of writing operations that have preceded the appearance of the text proper. The pre-textual stage therefore designates that of the work’s process of production, insofar as it can be pieced back together by the analysis of the author’s working manuscripts, and then interpreted following a defined critical method. In order to piece this evolution back together, however, these documents must first of all be inventoried, classified, dated and deciphered, since they are neither legible nor interpretable in their raw state. The avant-texte does not therefore designate the material manuscripts (a typological inventory of them makes up the fourth column [of the table on pages 34-35 in the paper], Document Type), but rather the critical discourse by which the geneticist, having established the objective results of their analysis (transcriptions, relative dating, classification, etc), reads them as successive moments of a process

(Biasi 1996, 38)

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