By Jerome McGann
A manifesto for the arts within the electronic age, A New Republic of Letters argues that the historical past of texts, including the tools during which they're preserved and made on hand for interpretation, are the overriding topics of humanist learn within the twenty-first century. thought and philosophy, that have grounded the arts for many years, not suffice as an highbrow framework. Jerome McGann proposes we glance in its place to philology--a self-discipline which has been out of favor for lots of many years yet which types the troubles of electronic humanities with awesome fidelity.
For centuries, books were how you can shield and transmit wisdom. yet as libraries and museums digitize their files and readers abandon paperbacks for pill desktops, electronic media are changing books because the repository of cultural reminiscence. whereas either the challenge of the arts and its conventional modes of scholarship and important research are an identical, the electronic atmosphere is riding disciplines to paintings with new instruments that require significant, and infrequently very tough, institutional alterations. Now greater than ever, students have to get well the idea and approach to philological research if the arts are to satisfy their perennial commitments. Textual and editorial scholarship, frequently marginalized as a narrowly technical area, could be made a concern of humanists' attention.
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Extra info for A New Republic of Letters: Memory and Scholarship in the Age of Digital Reproduction
Why textual scholarship matters 25 The (alphanumeric) critical edition—developed and modified over many centuries, and well before the coming of print technology—is one of the most remarkable machines created by the ingenuity of Man. Its importance cannot be overstated, for it is a complete model of the enginery that has come to sustain nearly the whole of the cultural memory of the West. Its design flexibility is amazing both with respect to the numbers and kinds of materials it can represent, and to the network of social relations it both models and engages.
Families. Nations. Ceremonies. No question but these machines are unreliable and often destructive. And they get out of hand, some dangerously out of hand. The story of the Tower of Babel and the myth of Faust are ways of reflecting on memory machines that have gone out of control. Both are philological reflections, the one from a theological view of the world, the other from a philosophical and scientific one. The one is an imperial tale, the other is personal. Personally I prefer the personal ones.
In the horizon of Modernism, scholars turned to hermeneutics of many kinds and thence—after World War II—to the meta-interpretive interests that played themselves out, in equally diverse ways, under the general banner of Theory. ” is perceived as a technical or subdisciplinary (or even predisciplinary) question, as René Wellek’s influential mid-century handbook Theory of Literature (1949) makes very clear. Bibliographers 20 from history to method and other dryasdust scholars investigate and edit the documents in their monkish cells so that serious students of literature and culture can read and interpret what the works mean for the world of living people.
A New Republic of Letters: Memory and Scholarship in the Age of Digital Reproduction by Jerome McGann