Theories of the Text

Theories of the Text

Theories of the Text

Theories of the Text

Synopsis

Theories of the Text is the first comprehensive account of the changing practice of bibliography, textual criticism, and scholarly editing in the light of the diverse currents of contemporary critical theory. It offers both a much-needed introduction to the history of textual debate and a timely account of the current hotly contested debates over such issues as authorial intention, textual organicism, the socialization of the text, and intertextuality. Despite the positivist tradition of textual scholarship, D. C. Greetham argues, such work is a hermeneutic activity taking place within certain (usually unacknowledged) social and cultural conceptual constraints.

Excerpt

This book confronts the very idea of boundaries for discussion in textual study, and is therefore the product of repeated crossings and wearing down of boundaries during the last decade and more of my professional life. It is thus enormously indebted to those who have promoted such crossings institutionally and intellectually, and to those who have been hospitable in the various territories where I have found myself.

Several administrators and colleagues at the CUNY Graduate Center and elsewhere have thus actively encouraged the experiences that have resulted in this book. They include the late Harold M. Proshansky, former President of the Center, and his successor Frances Degen Horowitz; Provosts Steven M. Cahn and Geoffrey Marshall; English Ph.D. Program Executive Officers Allen Mandelbaum, John T. Shawcross, Morton N. Cohen, Lillian Feder, Michael Timko, Martin Stevens, Joseph Wittreich, William Kelly, and Richard McCoy--all of whom have embodied an administration eager to question disciplinary boundaries and to allow faculty to move freely about in various scholarly enterprises (as well as to give them time to mount such projects), a movement that was always promoted by the competence--and endurance--of the late Lynn Kadison as executive assistant of the English program. I am similarly grateful to those colleagues in other disciplines at CUNY who have, in formal classroom or colloquium, or informal discussion, provided me with so much material stimulation (in addition to the raw facts of reference and citation) on which this book depends. These include Stanley Aronowitz, Allan Atlas, Barry S. Brook, Marvin Carlson, Burton Pike, Anthony Pipolo, and Leo Treitler. Similarly, my colleagues in an English program that encompasses all (and more) of the various theoretical dispensations covered here have been generous with consultation and, again, with active participation in and out of the seminar room. They include Meena Alexander, John Brenkman, Mary Ann Caws, Edmund Epstein . . .

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