Such reasoning also makes clear that the interpretative activity of the editor extends over two different areas. First, it means the comprehension of the textual meaning; without attempts at interpretation the individual “letters and symbols” on the sheet cannot be read and–above all–cannot be determined as belonging to one text combining all individual signs in itself. From the point of view of the recipient, reading as a perception of the text is nothing other than an assigning of meaning; only through this act can the editor separate texts on one sheet as belonging to different works, for example. Secondly, in the editorial analysis of a witness document, genetic interpretation of what has been read now joins this fundamental perception of the dimension of meaning. The development process of the text is determined by the textual critic who not only perceives the syntagma of an individual textual state formed by the individual “letters and signs” on the page, but also the “paradigmatic” succession and correlation of the variants, that is, the spatial constellation and the chronological sequence of the changing versions in the witness document. And just as the editor’s interpretation of meaning and genetic interpretation of the writing are indissolubly linked, so the individual stage in the work’s genesis, namely the version, and the succession of these individual work stages, the layers and levels, are both aspects of a comprehensive editorial concept of text.

(Martens 1995, 217-218)

Contributed by Wout. View changelog.