Digital Editing and “Experience [. . .] looked upon as a kind of text” A Provocation in Three Exhibitions

Main Article Content

Christopher Ohge


This provocation argues for a form of digital creative-critical editing to serve as a pragmatic complement to the dominant “depth” models of traditional scholarly editing. What results is a pan-relational praxis of editing that focuses on connecting edited texts to new contexts and literary experiences with new tools, instead of using a depth model to offer the correct description, representation, or data model of those texts. Creative textual criticism could then be considered ongoing and incomplete, partaking of an iterative process of close reading and distant analysis, and redescriptions of textual criticism that are embedded in the creative process and other aesthetic experiences. These ideas are demonstrated in three brief exhibitions of Thomas Hardy, Herman Melville, and the abolitionist Mary Anne Rawson, all of whom are loosely connected to Arthur Schopenhauer, who once posited in Counsels and Maxims that “Experience of the world may be looked upon as a kind of text, to which reflection and knowledge form the commentary”. Such “commentary” inspires a new mode of pan-relational “reflection” and networked discourse which can only be implemented with digital technologies. What digital editing can do, then, is to give space to competing and alternative discourses and processes of the same text and to connect that text to other aesthetic contexts.



Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

II. Creative-Critical Case Studies
Author Biography

Christopher Ohge, University of London

Christopher Ohge is Senior Lecturer in Digital Approaches to Literature at the Institute of English Studies and Digital Humanities Research Hub, School of Advanced Study, University of London. He has worked on print and digital editions of the New England Transcendentalist Christopher Cranch, Mark Twain, and Herman Melville, and currently serves as the Associate Director of the Melville Electronic Library. The author of the book Publishing Scholarly Editions: Archives, Computing, and Experience (2021), his other published work has appeared in Essays in CriticismThe Mark Twain AnnualAmerican Literary HistoryLeviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies, Scholarly Editing, and in several edited collections.