The Textual Condition

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Princeton University Press, 1991 - Literary Criticism - 208 pages
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Over the past decade literary critic and editor Jerome McGann has developed a theory of textuality based in writing and production rather than in reading and interpretation. These new essays extend his investigations of the instability of the physical text. McGann shows how every text enters the world under socio-historical conditions that set the stage for a ceaseless process of textual development and mutation. Arguing that textuality is a matter of inscription and articulation, he explores texts as material and social phenomena, as particular kinds of acts. McGann links his study to contextual and institutional studies of literary works as they are generated over time by authors, editors, typographers, book designers, marketing planners, and other publishing agents. This enables him to examine issues of textual stability and instability in the arenas of textual production and reproduction. Drawing on literary examples from the past two centuries--including works by Byron, Blake, Morris, Yeats, Joyce, and especially Pound--McGann applies his theory to key problems facing anyone who studies texts and textuality.

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Contents

Theory Literary Pragmatics and the Editorial Horizon
19
What Is Critical Editing?
48
The Socialization of Texts
69
The Textual Condition
88
Ezra Pound in the Sixth Chamber
99
How to Read a Book
101
Pounds Cantos A Poem Including Bibliography
129
Beyond the Valley of Production or De factorum natura A Dialogue
153
Conclusion
177
Notes
187
Index
203
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Page 8 - ... when composition begins, inspiration is already on the decline, and the most glorious poetry that has ever been communicated to the world is probably a feeble shadow of the original conceptions of the poet.

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