The Book as Artefact
Edited by Anne Mette Hansen, Roger Lüdeke, Wolfgang Streit, Cristina Urchueguía and Peter Shillingsburg
Books do not just contain texts: books themselves are cultural artefacts, which convey many meanings in their own right, meanings which interact with the texts they contain. Awareness of the many significances of books as cultural and textual objects reshapes the traditional disciplines of textual theory, analytic bibliography, codicology and palaeography, while the advent of electronic books, and digital methods for representing print books, is introducing a new dimension to our understanding. Seven essays in this volume, ranging over medieval Portuguese and Swedish manuscripts, eighteenth-century Icelandic editions, Australian playtexts, Thackeray and Anita Brookner, and Stefan George, consider these questions from the broad perspective of textual scholarship.
Texts may exist on the borderland of word and not-word; or they may spring from borderlands of nation or culture; or they may be considered from the margins of neighbouring disciplines. So readers must set the texts within contexts, to see the play of text against border. Essays in this volume explore different texts against varying backgrounds — Pound’s Cantos, Joyce’s Ulysses, Trollope’s An Eye for an Eye, Woolf’s The Waves — while essays by McGann and Lernout argue the dimensionality of text on the intersection of print and digital media.
Implicit in all these essays is the contention, that textual scholarship must influence literary interpretation. Two final essays focus directly on this, in the cases of Melville’s Moby-Dick and Emily Dickinson’s late fragments. An extensive reviews section completes this volume.