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 equipment during which they're preserved and made on hand for interpretation, are the overriding matters of humanist learn within the twenty-first century. concept and philosophy, that have grounded the arts for many years, not suffice as an highbrow framework. Jerome McGann proposes we glance as an alternative to philology--a self-discipline which has been out of style for plenty of a long time yet which types the troubles of electronic humanities with excellent fidelity.
For centuries, books were how one can defend and transmit wisdom. yet as libraries and museums digitize their data and readers abandon paperbacks for capsule desktops, electronic media are exchanging books because the repository of cultural reminiscence. whereas either the project of the arts and its conventional modes of scholarship and significant examine are an analogous, the electronic surroundings is riding disciplines to paintings with new instruments that require significant, and sometimes very tricky, institutional adjustments. Now greater than ever, students have to recuperate the speculation and approach to philological research if the arts are to fulfill their perennial commitments. Textual and editorial scholarship, usually marginalized as a narrowly technical area, will be made a concern of humanists' attention.
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Extra resources for A new republic of letters : memory and scholarship in the age of digital reproduction
TT 154–155) This way of thinking is close to Wittgenstein’s reflections on learning a language in the Philosophical Investigations. A word or a wheel; an al- “the inorganic or ga ni zation of memory” 39 phanumeric script or an electronic circuit: before anything else, each of these minute particulars is an established memory of the complex system in which it is a codependent function. When the great philologist de nos jours Don McKenzie remarked that every document carries the history of its own making, he was saying much the same thing.
In this respect we can see, at our historical moment, the relevance of philology and its textual critical foundation. We have to go back to the future. 3 The move entailed rethinking a distinction we traditionally make between a text and its context. For the past twenty-five years many scholars have been exploring the fault lines of that distinction. Recent work in antebellum American studies has been especially interesting. ”4 The complete genetic information about any cultural work is coded in the double helix of its DNA, which defines the codependent relation of its production history and its reception history.
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. But the emergence of digital media in the late twentieth century is forcing a shift back to the view of traditional philology, where textual scholarship was understood as the foundation of every aspect of literary and cultural studies.
A new republic of letters : memory and scholarship in the age of digital reproduction by Jerome McGann