After reading Paul Maas’ Textual Criticism, I understood editors to have the laborious task of providing readers with the most reliable text through a logical though lengthy process of elimination. Maas’ writing allowed me to realize an appreciation for the editor’s dilemma of distortion versus accessibility and it seemed that the method of Recensio was representative of the right balance, even though it could never get back to the original, it could get back to the earliest edition. Random Cloud’s “Fiat Flux” however, shattered my new found respect for the editor especially as he repeatedly ridicules the editorial tradition. Cloud emphasizes how the various manuscripts in his gallery of “Easter Wings” are adaptations and not transcriptions however; “adaptation” seems too kind. Though Cloud does acknowledge that editing is “a highly intellectual practice” (148), the task nevertheless consists of “editing the Editing” (112) and so each adaptation becomes a further deterioration of the text. So it would seem that while Maas and Cloud are essentially of the same mind, Maas still provides a more positive perspective of the editor and textual criticism while Cloud secures a distrustful view of the editorial practice. Though I still hold the method of Recensio as representative of the right balance between distortion and accessibility, I do feel at a loss for a better alternative especially as I am left pondering whether the editor provides a “sublime adaptation or merely befuddled degeneration?” (148).
My plan for this week is to further discover ECGtext and I hope to finally become comfortable with the program once we lay out which parts of the Proverbs of Alfred manuscripts we will be working on. Once these sections are decided, my goal is to note at least 2 ways in which to improve the functionality of the program while sequencing and annotating lines. I also plan to work with the PHP files alongside the Nixon textbook in preparation for coding.