Seminar at the HIT Centre (Lunch room), Friday 14.6., 10.15-12.00:

Edward Vanhoutte (CTB - Centre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies, Gent):

Genetic encoding of modern manuscript texts

Modern manuscripts, as Almuth Grésillon defines them, are "manuscrits qui font partie d'une genèse textuelle attestée par plusieurs témoins successifs et qui manifestent le travail d'écriture d'un auteur." ["manuscripts which are part of a textual genesis for which many consecutive witnesses give evidence, and which are the manifestation of the author's labour of writing." (my translation).](Grésillon 1994: 244) The French school of Critique Génétique primarily deals with modern manuscripts and their primary aim is to study the avant-texte, not so much as the basis to set out editorial principles for textual representation, but as a means to understand the genesis of the literary work or as Daniel Ferrer put it: "it does not aim to reconstitute the optimal text of a work; rather, it aims to reconstitute the writing process which resulted in the work, based on surviving traces, which are primarily author's draft manuscripts" (Ferrer 1995: 143). Therefore, the structural and structuring units of a modern manuscript are not the paragraphs, nor the pages or the chapters, but the temporal units of writing. These units form a complex network which are often not bound to the chronology of the page. If we can find ways to encode this into the transcription of complex documentary source material, then a whole new range of techniques already in use in humanities computing in general and electronic scholarly editions in particular will become available for creating and studying genetic editions. The miracle of the poetic work is often unveiled by the understanding of the dynamic writing process. Or as Hegel put it in connection with paintings: "Handzeichnungen [haben] das höchste Interesse, indem man das Wunder sieht, dass der ganze Geist unmittelbar in die Fertigkeit der Hand übergeht, die nun mit der grössen Liechtigkeit, ohne Versuch, in augenblicklicher Produktion alles, was im Geiste des Künstlers liegt, hinstellt." (Vorlesungen über die Ästhetik).

In a first part, this seminar will introduce the concept of critique génétique, outline the position of Flemish editorial practice, and discuss the methodological need for genetic encoding, based on research currently undertaken at the Centre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies (CTB- Centrum voor Teksteditie en Bronnenstudie) . The second half of this seminar will be an open discussion about the proposed theme.