edition (intentionalist)

For intentionalists, a critical edition may be designed to approximate a writer’s intentions at a given moment in the writing process and is itself the end product of a process of historical ‘construction.’ Once editors decide to make a critical edition of a work, they will first collate all of the relevant historical versions of that work and assemble a list of the variant texts (or textual fluidities) found throughout the versions. And there can be many such variants due to various reasons: the accidents of printers, the censorings of publishers, or the revisions of the writer. The critical editor’s role is to judge which of these variants is authorial or otherwise, and which to showcase. On the basis of some given criterion of intentionality, the editor will also select one complete version of the work (let’s say, a set of corrected page proofs or the first printed edition to be a copy-text. This is a version one chooses because one can argue that it more reliably represents the writer’s intentions than the others, and it is the one upon which the editor bases the edition.

(Bryant 2002, 21)

Contributed by Wout. View changelog.