Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Mental Derangement

Peter Heslin, "The Dream of a Universal Variorum: Digitizing the Commentary Tradition," in Christina S. Kraus and Christopher Stray, edd., Classical Commentaries: Explorations in a Scholarly Genre (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 494-511 (at 509):
An editor who removes a suspected interpolation may seem to do unforgivable violence to the author; if instead the reader were presented with a clickable button which permitted him or her to experiment with seeing the text with or without the suspect words, how much less a potential act of vandalism might this seem? How much less nastiness might there be in our little world? In its more toxic manifestations, textual criticism looks not so much an intellectual discipline as a mental derangement. Much of this is due to the inflexibility of movable type and the tyranny of the printed word, a situation alien to antiquity, and, increasingly, to us.

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