text (material)

The alternative to the ideality of the author, then is the materiality itself of the text. And if the ideality of the author is essentially ahistoric, the materiality of the text is manifestly historic. Again, this is not to argue that real authors do and did not live in history, nor that we cannot find their intentions manifested. However, what evidence we have of authors and intentions resides in documents, in the historic materiality of texts. It would seem appropriate, therefore, to edit texts not so much to epiphanize the author, but rather to render transparent the text in its material historicity. However, if the latter is the German way, it is also the increasing awareness of the author as factor and determinant of the text that has led German textual scholarship into developing its particular modes of literary editing.

Contributed by Caroline. View changelog.