editing (objectivity)

Users need to realize which editorial measures come from the interpreter’s understanding of the text, and which are independent of the individuality of the editor. The subjective nature of editing shows itself in an extreme example such as the multiple textual forms given to the drafts of Hölderlin’s ‘Friedensfeier’ by various researchers; mere reference to previous editor’s misreadings of Hölderlin’s manuscripts exposed by Friedrich Beißner reminds us that the editor inevitably interprets, even during the process of deciphering manuscripts. Similarly, the way the editor organizes an edition strongly influences the overall picture of the author that emerges from it. […] The editorial activity takes place in a circle, so that one can say that literary criticism finds ‘its point of departure and its goal in the work on the text’ (Wehrli 1969, 33). The circle implies that editorial measures should be proper to their object and suitable to their social function; that editing presupposes the recognition of both its object and its goal. In spite of this, the texts of scholarly editions are largely understood and treated as if they were objective givens. The text and the apparatus of our editions and the philological methods from which they result are not, however, objective or secure, although they could be securer and more objective than in present practice. […] (Subjective and objective are used here as defined earlier: dependent on or independent of the individuality of the scholar and editor).

(Zeller 1995, 19-20)

Contributed by Jesse. View changelog.