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CL7040 The Art of Editing

Nearly half a century since the successful introduction of innovative approaches to the study of the ancient world, including the reading of ancient texts in translation, we should remind ourselves that "love for the (written) word" (philologia) is where it all started over two thousands years ago. The attentive 'detective' work towards the reconstruction of the 'word of the author' is a fundamental aspect of our discipline: "Textual criticism is not the be-all and end-all of classical scholarship, which is the study of a civilization. But it is an indispensable part of it. By far the greater part of our knowledge of that civilization comes to us from what the ancients wrote. In almost all cases those writings have survived, if they have survived at all, only in copies many stages removed from the original, copies of which not a single one is free from error. Often the errors are so great that it is no longer possible to tell what the author meant to say. It follows that anyone who wants to make serious use of ancient texts must pay attention to the uncertainties of the transmission" (M. L. West).
  • Module Organiser:
    • Professor Anna Chahoud
  • Duration:
    • One Term
  • Contact Hours:
    • 11 (1 hour seminar p.w.)
  • Weighting:
    • 10 ECTS
  • Assessment:
    • 100% Continuous Assessment

Introductory Reading

  • E. Kelemen, Textual Editing and Criticism (Norton Publ. 2008)
  • M. L. West, Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique: applicable to Greek and Latin texts (Stuttgart 1973).
  • S. Timpanaro, The Freudian Slip: Psychoanalysis and Textual Criticism (Verso reprint, 2011)
  • R. Pfeiffer, History of Classical Scholarship from the beginnings to the end of the Hellenistic Age (Oxford 1968)
  • R. Pfeiffer, History of Classical Scholarship from 1300 to 1850 (Oxford 1976)
  • U. von Wilamowitz- Moellendorf, History of Classical Scholarship, revised by H. Lloyd-Jones (London and Baltimore 1982)

Learning Outcomes

On successful conclusion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Identify and analyse the theories and techniques applied to the editing of classical texts.
  • Articulate informed views on the development of the discipline from its ancient Greek beginnings to modern times.
  • Distinguish between critical and diplomatic editions and related methodologies.
  • Distinguish between direct and indirect transmission of texts and related methodologies.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in analysing, orally and in writing, a critical apparatus, a stemma codicum, and other specific features of critical editions of Latin texts.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking in oral presentations, discussions and written assignments.