orientation (documentary)

The documentary orientation (called the historical orientation in the first two editions of this book), is founded on a sense of the textual integrity of historical moments and physical forms. Without necessarily valuing early forms over later ones, the documentary orientation frowns on the mixture of historically discrete texts. […] While most scholarly editors have a genuine respect for historical documents, and though all “scholarly editors” appeal to “historical principles,” few are strictly governed by the historical orientation. In fact, most of the other formal orientations used in scholarly editing are appealed to in order to “correct” historical forms. Insofar as editorial work is designed to eliminate errors and “textual corruption,” its purpose is to mitigate the “ravages” or the “accidents” of history. Authority, for the historical orientation, usually resides in the historical document, warts and all.

Contributed by Jesse. View changelog.