Journal #2: Multi-editors, multi-authors, muti-editions

In reading Random Cloud’s ‘Fiat Flux’ article, I was struck in thinking about the difference between interpretation and re-interpretation. It seems to me that each and every editor that had worked on an edition in Cloud’s ‘Easter Wings’ gallery had made some sort of error in presentation, annotation, or interpretation. However, it is revealing at the end of the essay that Herbert clearly borrows the structure of his concrete poem, as well as (it seems to me) some its content, from an earlier piece by another writer. While Cloud mentions that this situates Herbert in “textual and religious evolutions which predate him and which are not over yet” (Cloud 149), what it said to me was that the edition editor interprets, while the author re-interprets, re-imagines (unless the piece is wholly original). What’s the difference between these activities? Which has the potential to mutilate or abuse its object of study (or adaptation) more?

I ask this question because in my academic history, I’ve often found myself captivated by intertextuality (as that term pertains to semiotics as well as literary study, both of which levels Herbert’s poem seems to operate on). Many times, I’ve looked at significant re-imaginings or reworkings of a text, as well as the interplay between multiple systems of signs, but I’ve never before considered how they might pertain to different editions of the same piece of writing. Is the work of the editor an inherently intertextual practice? Is what the edition editor produces always an intertext, which by its own right is valid and unique? Some things I have to think about.

This coming week, I want to start transcribing and (practicing) coding. Once we decide which sections of the Proverbs manuscripts we want to focus on, I look forward to getting on ECGText and adding some lines. And I’m really looking forward to getting my PHP access so I can start trying out code from the Nixon textbook.


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