COVER

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TITLE

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COPYRIGHT

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CONTENTS

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p. vii

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PREFACE

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p. 9

THE three lectures printed here have been revised only slightly from the form in which they were delivered, on April 21, 23, and 28, 1987, as the Rosenbach Lectures at the University of Pennsylvania. My aim in these lectures is to present a rationale of...

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I: THE NATURE OF TEXTS

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pp. 11-38

WHEN Keats, reflecting on the Grecian urn, wrote that it could "express / A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme," he was provoking us to consider the difference between pictorial art and works made of words. By calling the urn a "historian," he made clear that he was concerned ...

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II: REPRODUCING THE TEXTS OF DOCUMENTS

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pp. 39-66

THE evidences of human activity are everywhere around us, most noticeably in the form of artifacts, and in each of them we can, if we wish, read messages from the past. In objects that appear to be utilitarian we can try to read details of the daily affairs of those who preceded us, and in objects...

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III: RECONSTRUCTING THE TEXTS OF WORKS

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pp. 67-94

TH E woman walking along the Key West strand, in Wallace Stevens's poem, transmutes the sea into her song; but the two are different, we are told, "Even if what she sang was what she heard, / Since what she sang was uttered word by word." In verbal communication, everything depends...

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POSTSCRIPT

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pp. 95-98

EACH of the concerns touched on here has been the subject of a voluminous literature, extending back over the centuries, and debates about such issues will continue endlessly, as long as there are minds to address them. Readers who desire suggestions for pursuing what has been said about one...

INDEX

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pp. 99-104