To distinguish the published text from the preceding versions, Jean Bellemin-Noël introduced the notion of avant texte (pre-text) in 1972. Archives often arrange the manuscripts teleologically according to the final narrative structure. A genetic study, however, may require a chronological (re)arrangement of the manuscripts. In order to do so, a decipherment is necessary, and a transcription advisable, both to facilitate one’s own work and to make the material more accessible to others. All these acts of interpretation turn the documents into an interpretable complex of avant-texte. Pierre-Marc de Biasi defines the avant-texte as the result of the critical analysis and organization of all the extant documents relating to the writing process one intends to examine (Génétique des textes 30-31). The avant-texte does not denote the materiality of the manuscripts nor their actual interpretation, but the critical reconstruction of the documents

Contributed by Wout. View changelog.