The Life of Texts : Evidence in Textual Production, Transmission and Reception
Part of the Criminal practice series series
The textual foundations of works of great cultural significance are often less stable than one would wish them to be.
No work of Homer, Dante or Shakespeare survives in utterly reliable witnesses, be they papyri, manuscripts or printed editions.
Notions of textual authority have varied considerably across the ages under the influence of different (and differently motivated) agents, such as scribes, annotators, editors, correctors, grammarians, printers and publishers, over and above the authors themselves.
The need for preserving the written legacy of peoples and nations as faithfully as possible has always been counterbalanced by a duty to ensure its accessibility to successive generations at different times and in different cultural contexts. The ten chapters collected in this volume offer critical approaches to such authors and texts as Homer, the Bible, The Thousand and One Nights, Dante, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Eliot, but also Leonardo da Vinci's manuscripts uniquely combining word and image, as well as Beethoven's 'Tempest' sonata (Op. 31, No. 2) as seen from the angle of music as text. Together the contributors argue that an awareness of what the 'life of texts' entails is essential for a critical understanding of the transmission of culture.