Our most immediate notion of ‘collaboration’ is that texts come into being with two or more individuals laboring together shoulder to shoulder (like lyricist and composer at the piano) as a single sensibility, but in fact that practice almost never happens. Most collaboration derives from conflict. Indeed, a major cause of textual fluidity derives from the conflicting sensibilities of collaborators, both friendly and adversarial. Collaborators act primarily as ‘second readers,’ the first reader being the writer writing. That is, these second readers take a writer’s work and provide new perspectives by suggesting changes, in some cases, they demand changes. […] In virtually all these cases, the ‘collaborators’ do not work together from the inception of the project; rather, the collaboration begins with one person acting as an editor to shape what a principal writer has written. Thus, I am nervous about bestowing upon such editorial figures the status of authorial collaborator, since authorship implies a kind of unified, originary role not played by most collaborators.

Contributed by Wout. View changelog.