edition (critical)

The central controversy, which may be loosely defined as a conflict between intentionalists and materialists, is a debate over the validity of ‘the critical edition.’ General readers are likely to call a critical edition a ‘definitive’ text, established for all time by scholars, and complemented with notes and critical essays in the back. This is a double misconception: no edition, critical or otherwise, can be ‘definitive,’ and an edition is ‘critical’ not simply because publishers bind the primary text along with secondary criticism. The critical edition is a genre of scholarly editing in which a text is constructed usually after the inspection, and sometimes the conflation, of significant versions of the work; it is also a text that is invariably emended along certain principles so as to bring it closer to an announced notion of intentionality. This approach differs from diplomatic and facsimile editing, which attempts to reproduce, without conflation or emendation, a singular occurrence or physical version of a work, like a particular manuscript, or a first or revised edition so as to render the text as closely as possible to the historic original.

(Bryant 2002, 20)

Contributed by Wout. View changelog.