Oeuvre: 1) l’ensemble des productions d’un écrivain, quand on dit l’oeuvre de Milosz, l’ensemble de ses ouvrages publiés et de tous les écrits de lui qu’on possède. A ce titre, elle s’insère dans l’histoire, à la fois par la chronologie des publications, par le moment des rédactions et par la date à laquelle on la considère (car elle est découverte peu à peu: inédits, correspondance, etc.) 2) synonyme, dans le cadre de cette étude, de ce qui va être défini sous le nom de poème (et qui, ailleurs, serait roman ou drame).
work–the message or experience implied by the authoritative versions of literary writing. Usually the variant forms have the same name. Sometimes there will be disagreement over whether a variant form is in fact a variant version or a separate work.
Whatever autonomy and internal logic formal analysis may reveal in a work of art, the actual work is only one among its multiple possibilities. And even if it often happens, as in Leibniz’s theodicy (and in the refrain Voltaire borrowed from it for Candide), that the work’s canonic form is indeed the best of all possible forms, the fact remains that the work now stands out against a background, and a series, of potentialities.
work. The message or experience implied by the authoritative versions of literary writing. Usually the variant forms have the same name. Sometimes there will be disagreement over whether a variant form is in fact a variant version or a separate work.
Volgens G. Thomas Tanselle en andere editiewetenschappers, zoals Peter Shillingsburg, is een werk geen tastbaar object. Omdat taal geen tastbaar medium is, kan het werk zelf enkel opgeslagen worden door omzetting in een andere vorm. De vorm waarin de meeste modernistische werken zijn bewaard is papier en inkt. […] Ondanks de verschillen vertonen deze teksten toch ook overeenkomsten; die overeenkomsten suggereren dat het om eenzelfde werk gaat. Een werk is eveneens niet-materieel, maar slechts geïmpliceerd door de verscheidene teksten die de auteur heeft geproduceerd. Het werk is niet de som van zijn tekstuele vormen; het is ook niet de ultieme tekst die via kritisch editeren bereikt kan worden.
One rather banal observation suffices to suggest what is involved: the definitive text of a published or a publishable work is, with very few exceptions, the result of a process, that is, a progressive transformation, an investment of time that the author has devoted to researching documents, writing, correcting and recorrecting, etc. The literary work, closed in its perfected form and in a state of equilibrium that seems to be the immediate expression of its own internal necessity, nonetheless remains the mediated product of its own genesis.
To envisage the work as I am proposing it, as constantly involved in a negative dialectic of material medium (the documentary dimension) and meaningful experience (the textual), and as being constituted by an unrolling semiosis across time, necessarily interwoven in the lives of all who create it, gaze at it or read it, is to acknowledge the central roles of agency and time.
The “work” is part of our reading of the document: what do we mean by “work”? While Gabler and others have focused on text as document, Paul Eggert has been examining the concept of the “work”. In Securing the Past (2009), he extends the concept of the work beyond textual productions, however conceived (the “works” of Shakespeare, his Hamlet, Sonnet 100), to buildings and works of art, taking in along the way issues of forgery, authenticity, conservation and presentation. Indeed, while Eggert confines his discussion to art, architecture and literature, his arguments may apply to any object created by human agency: anything we make is a “work”. Anything we make, his last chapter argues, is subject to questions of intention, agency, authority and meaning. Across all these domains, we who read books, look at paintings, walk through historic buildings, must ask ourselves the same questions: what is it I see here; who made it and how does what I see relate to its original making; what has happened to it since its first making; how does this affect what I see?
The work is not a fixed object, apprehended in some marvellous epiphany by a reader, so that forever after the unchanging reader holds an unchanging image of the work in mind. Rather the work changes as we know it, and we change too as we know. We see this most easily when we return to a well-loved book and read it again. Suddenly meanings we had not seen before crowd upon us. We think: the book has not changed. But the meaning of the book, the work we apprehend, has changed, and this is all the book that we know. We know too that the change is in us, that while we were not looking, we changed, and in each instant of apprehension, we change again.
I would define the term “work” in two ways: first, as a category into which we place all texts that appear to be versions of the same artistic unit, including all editions and printings regardless of accuracy or authority. And, second, “work” is conceptually that which is implied by the authoritative texts. The second definition leaves open the question what is meant by authoritative, but each archivist or editor has to articulate that meaning in order to limit the range of documents to be collected or represented.