work

Ouvrageun écrit particulier publié sous la signature de quelqu’un (l’écrivain); les dimensions n’importent pas: livre, article, poème isolé — pourvu qu’il y ait un titre et un point final (Bellemin-Noël 1972, 14).

Oeuvre: 1) l’ensemble des productions d’un écrivain, quand on dit l’oeuvre de Milosz, l’ensemble de ses ouvrages publiés et de tous les écrits de lui qu’on possède. A ce titre, elle s’insère dans l’histoire, à la fois par la chronologie des publications, par le moment des rédactions et par la date à laquelle on la considère (car elle est découverte peu à peu: inédits, correspondance, etc.)
2) synonyme, dans le cadre de cette étude, de ce qui va être défini sous le nom de poème (et qui, ailleurs, serait roman ou drame) (Bellemin-Noël 1972, 16).

work–the message or experience implied by the authoritative versions of literary writing. Usually the variant forms have the same name. Sometimes there will be disagreement over whether a variant form is in fact a variant version or a separate work (Shillingsburg 1986, 173).

Whatever autonomy and internal logic formal analysis may reveal in a work of art, the actual work is only one among its multiple possibilities. And even if it often happens, as in Leibniz’s theodicy (and in the refrain Voltaire borrowed from it for Candide), that the work’s canonic form is indeed the best of all possible forms, the fact remains that the work now stands out against a background, and a series, of potentialities (Contat et al. 1996, 2).

work. The message or experience implied by the authoritative versions of literary writing. Usually the variant forms have the same name. Sometimes there will be disagreement over whether a variant form is in fact a variant version or a separate work (Shillingsburg 1996, 176).

Volgens G. Thomas Tanselle en andere editiewetenschappers, zoals Peter Shillingsburg, is een werk geen tastbaar object. Omdat taal geen tastbaar medium is, kan het werk zelf enkel opgeslagen worden door omzetting in een andere vorm. De vorm waarin de meeste modernistische werken zijn bewaard is papier en inkt. […] Ondanks de verschillen vertonen deze teksten toch ook overeenkomsten; die overeenkomsten suggereren dat het om eenzelfde werk gaat. Een werk is eveneens niet-materieel, maar slechts geïmpliceerd door de verscheidene teksten die de auteur heeft geproduceerd. Het werk is niet de som van zijn tekstuele vormen; het is ook niet de ultieme tekst die via kritisch editeren bereikt kan worden (Van Hulle 1998, 96-97).

A work is a signifying, concrete set of ideational conceptions that finds realization through semantic or symbolic expression (Smiraglia 2001, 129)

One rather banal observation suffices to suggest what is involved: the definitive text of a published or a publishable work is, with very few exceptions, the result of a process, that is, a progressive transformation, an investment of time that the author has devoted to researching documents, writing, correcting and recorrecting, etc. The literary work, closed in its perfected form and in a state of equilibrium that seems to be the immediate expression of its own internal necessity, nonetheless remains the mediated product of its own genesis (de Biasi 2004, 37).

To envisage the work as I am proposing it, as constantly involved in a negative dialectic of material medium (the documentary dimension) and meaningful experience (the textual), and as being constituted by an unrolling semiosis across time, necessarily interwoven in the lives of all who create it, gaze at it or read it, is to acknowledge the central roles of agency and time (Eggert 2009, 237).

I would define the term “work” in two ways: first, as a category into which we place all texts that appear to be versions of the same artistic unit, including all editions and printings regardless of accuracy or authority. And, second, “work” is conceptually that which is implied by the authoritative texts. The second definition leaves open the question what is meant by authoritative, but each archivist or editor has to articulate that meaning in order to limit the range of documents to be collected or represented (Shillingsburg 2013, 13).

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