By formal orientation I mean a perspective on forms that leads to the selection of one set of formal requirements over another. Often this selection derives from value judgments about what the particular edition in question should provide as the material upon which to exercise literary criticism (i.e., what the “authoritative” text is). The major formal orientations are historical, aesthetic, authorial, and sociological. […] The effect on the readings preserved in an edition will be seen to derive, to a large extent, from the priority given to these orientations by the editor. The formal orientation either reveals where the editor has located “authority” or governs where he will locate it. It is difficult to tell which comes first.
(Shillingsburg 1986, 19)