Editorial Theory in the Humanities
George Bornstein and Ralph G. Williams, Editors
Distinguished scholars discuss editorial theory and how it is applied across the humanities


In the last decade, editorial theory and practice have begun to generate some of the most interesting issues and problems in the humanities. The discovery of plagiarism in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dissertation and debates over editions of James Joyce's Ulysses appeared on the front pages of newspapers. The practice of editing has challenged our conceptions both of works themselves and of the principles by which art, meaning, and tradition are constituted.

Palimpsest is the first volume to consider the impact of the new editorial work and theory on a wide range of humanistic disciplines. It assembles an extraordinarily distinguished group of leading practitioners and theorists, who examine editing in a variety of contexts: literature, music, art, history, religion, and correspondence.

Praise / Awards

  • "This is a genuinely interdisciplinary collection, with few of the faults normally associated with such endeavours, and one which suggests that editorial theory could indeed form a starting-point, rather than a later refinement, in all our general approaches to literature. Overall, this sumptuously designed volume makes a persuasive case for the inextricability of all the things we do with texts: reading, editing, interpreting, translating, annotating, contextualiziing, historicising, and so forth."
    --TEXT: Transactions of The Society for Textual Scholarship, Volume 9 (1997)

Look Inside


George Bornstein     1

Part 1. Editorial Theory Today

Editorial and Critical Theory: From Modernism to Postmodernism
D.C. Greetham     9

Polymorphic, Polysemic, Protean, Reliable, Electronic Texts
Peter L. Shillingsburg     29

I Shall Be Spoken: Textual Boundaries, Authors, and Intent
Ralph G. Williams     45

Feminism and Editing Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: The Editor And?/Or? the Text
Betty T. Bennett     67

Part 2. Editing Literature

Religion, Rhetoric, and Editorial Technique: Reconstructing the Classics
James E.G. Zetzel     99

The Renaissance and the End of Editing
Gary Taylor     121

The Case of The Ambassadors and the Textual Condition
Jerome McGann     151

What Is the Text of a Poem by Yeats?
George Bornstein     167

On Textual Criticism and Editing: The Case of Joyce's Ulysses
Hans Walter Gabler     195

Part 3. Editing in Other Disciplines

Editing the Editors: Translation and Elucidation of the Text of the Bible
David Noel Freedman     227

The Grime of the Centuries Is a Pigment of the Imagination: Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling
Kathleen Weil-Garris Brandt     257

Benjamin Franklin's Correspondence: Whose Intent? What Text? I Don't Know's the Author
Barbara Oberg     271

Translations and Adaptations of Operatic Texts
Philip Gossett     285

Editing Martin Luther King, Jr.: Political and Scholarly Issues
Clayborne Carson     305

Contributors     317

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 328pp.
  • figures, 1 musical example.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 1993
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10371-3

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  • $89.95 U.S.