Defining its research domain as one of systematically studying manuscripts to restore the genesis of written works, textual genetics does not claim in any way to be a substitute for different critical approaches to the text. […] It is in fact essential to distinguish the genetic from the critical dimension: both claim to use scientific procedures and therefore to be complementary but not competitive or mutually exclusive.
Textual genetics does not in itself have a criterion of critical evaluation. It has a double objective that consists, on the one hand, of rendering technically readable and analyzable the before-the-text [antérieur-du-texte], its evolution, and its internal workings up to the definitive form. On the other hand, it must reconstruct the logic of this genesis. For the first aspect of the genetic objective, one must adopt a specific technique for internal and external manuscript analysis. For the second, the study of a text’s genesis or, if one prefers, the attempt to establish an avant-texte, one can only succeed if one applies a selective critical procedure. This procedure will reconstruct the genesis from a chosen point of view, for example, desire (psychoanalysis), inscription of sociality (sociocriticism), or the very conditions of its own poetics (narratology).