Random Cloud’s chapter “FIAT fLUX” was eye-opening for me. I have different editions of some books in my personal collection but have never contrasted them in any way similar to Cloud’s examination of Herbert’s poems. I was ignorant of the profound changes that editors make to texts, thus in a way becoming authors of new texts, as pointed out by Kalervo. Cloud’s statement in his conclusion that the “problem is that the edited world is one of Illusions, but each editor plays his own as if it were the Truth” (149) is useful when thinking of the way editors might instead share or debate many truths when collaborating on a digital project. These discussions would hopefully lead them to the basic principle of textual criticism as defined by Maas: “to produce a text as close as possible to the original” (1). Discussing their editorial choices would lead these multiple editors to be transparent and to show the steps they took to lead them to their product. I think this acknowledgement of process is one way towards a balance between maintaining the original document and making it accessible.
However, Timney et al.’s article “Opening the Gates” made me consider if editing as we understand it has become outdated and less necessary in the digital age. Editors might have been needed in print culture when readers themselves couldn’t easily access multiple versions of texts, but today digital humanities projects are making that option available. The authors’ description of the editor’s role as a “facilitator” emphasizes accessibility and allows the users themselves to manipulate texts.
My goal for the following week is to work more on the practical elements of this class and less on the theoretical issues. That is, I want to add some texts into my ecgtext site and start practicing the PHP functions in the assigned Nixon chapters.