Masters and Commanders: Considering the Tyranny of the Edited Text

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Josephine Koster


This essay considers the problematic nature of textual editing in the age of digitized and digital editions. Scholars consistently seek to identify “best” editions and to establish the identities of scribes like Adam Pynkhurst beyond a reasonable doubt, but experience shows how difficult such identifications can be, even when undertaken by qualified scholars with full access to the texts in question. Given the instability of technologies, the need for sustainability in digital platforms, and the difficulties in producing “final” print editions of medieval texts that exist in multiple witnesses, the essay argues that editorial closure may be an impossible goal.


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