The present article explores the manuscript’s distinctiveness in its relationship to printed texts and the transformations inherent in the passage from manuscript to critical edition. At the core of the essay’s inquiry is the difficulty in determining one textual form as the author’s first choice among all the others, as well as the problematic identification of the other “states of the text” as “scratch pads” and/or “drafts” and revisions. Classicists and medievalists share this impasse with geneticists, although classicists and medievalists must reestablish the “authorized” text based on existing manuscripts while geneticists start from the “authorized” text to determine a “pre-text” based on drafts. The point of this article is that no matter what the epoch, manuscripts are the means that bring us closer to the author, and therefore they deserve our most careful attention.


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pp. 5-28
Launched on MUSE
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