principle of the early version

This principle, which I call the principle of the “early version,” refers to versions in which an author‘s changed attitude to a work becomes recognizable or visible for the first time. If there are several phrases of working and reworking that lead to fundamentally different textual versions of a work, then each such version in which this takes place or first becomes visible to the editor is among the “early textual versions.” […] Thus I advocate the principle of the “early version” for the editorial constitution of the text. “Early version” does not necessarily mean the first printing of a work, to which the notion is sometimes inadmissibly restricted. Rather, it implies the selection and reproduction of early versions from the various phases of the author’s labor on the work, in which fundamental revisions in the process of production may be grasped. “Early version” is thus a category determined by the author and his or her work methods: It depends upon the degree of revision of the author’s conceptions of and intentions for a work. If the author changes the intention for a work in the later years of a life, and if this process becomes visible for the editor only in the so-called “final revised edition,” then the text of this edition forms the “early version” for this specific phase of production. Thus the editor’s decision about the edited text should be based on the fundamental revisions that the author made to the work during the process of production, and the edition should reflect the important stages in this process by reprinting the relevant versions in their entirety.

(Scheibe 1995, 190-191)

Contributed by Jesse. View changelog.