textual criticism

Textual criticism is a science, and, since it comprises recension and emendation, it is also an art. It is the science of discovering error in texts and the art of removing it (Housman 1922, 68).

The business of textual criticism is to produce a text as close as possible to the original (constitutio textus) (Maas 1958, 1).

Textual criticism is the art of examining literary texts to authenticate the words, their order, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Authenticated texts are generally thought to be reliable for reading and studying literary works. Thus textual critics are valued because they serve the laudable function of providing authenticated texts (Shillingsburg 1986, 4-5).

The scholarly activity of studying the textual histories of verbal works in an effort to propose reliable texts of those works (according to one or another definition of correctness) (Tanselle 1990, 1).

Textual criticism is often understood as the art of examining literary texts to authenticate the words, their order, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Authenticated texts are generally thought to be reliable for reading and studying literary works. Thus, textual critics are valued because they serve the laudable function of providing authenticated texts (Shillingsburg 1996, 4).

Textkritik Editorische Überprüfung von Texten hinsichtlich ihrer Authentizität (Plachta 1997, 139).

While most assume that textual scholarship is the means by which fixed texts are established, it is, in fact, a discipline for the effective management of fluid texts. It is also a method for making sense of textual fluidities, and as a ‘making’ of sense, it reflects the judgments of the makers of texts, both the originating writer and subsequent editors; it is, therefore, inescapably critical. […] Textual scholarship and editing are professional phenomena that occur when people recognize that a particular document is so artistically compelling, historically important, critically relevant, or even financially promising that they want to see it reproduced (Bryant 2002, 17-18).

La critica testuale è la disciplina che, attraverso apposite tecniche, indaga la genesi e l’evoluzione di un’opera di carattere letterario, individuando le sue varie forme – in particolare la forma originaria, o le forme originarie, se esse sono più di una – e studiandone le trasformazioni nel corso del tempo. Il suo obiettivo è quello di consentire la pubblicazione di un testo ‘affidabile’ di una determinata opera (Chiesa 2002, 11).

La critica testuale viene divisa perciò in due fasi ben distinte: la recensio, che ha come obiettivo la valutazione dei testimoni, e la constitutio textus, che consiste nel formulare un’ipotesi di testo conforme a ciò che doveva essere l’originale sulla base dei risultati della recensio. Come vedremo, questa seconda operazione è a sua volta distinta in selectio e in emendatio. Recensio e constitutio textus sono due operazioni anche temporalmente separate: la recensio deve essere svolta prima, e solo una volta che sia conclusa si passa alla constitutio textus (Chiesa 2002, 51-52).

Textual Criticism, which studies the origins and variation of texts (Katajamäki et al. 2013, 8).

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