Jerome McGann's A New Republic of Letters: Memory and Scholarship in the Age PDF

By Jerome McGann

ISBN-10: 0674728696

ISBN-13: 9780674728691

A manifesto for the arts within the electronic age, A New Republic of Letters argues that the heritage of texts, including the equipment during which they're preserved and made to be had for interpretation, are the overriding topics of humanist learn within the twenty-first century. conception and philosophy, that have grounded the arts for many years, not suffice as an highbrow framework. Jerome McGann proposes we glance as a substitute to philology--a self-discipline which has been out of favor for plenty of a long time yet which versions the worries of electronic humanities with spectacular fidelity.

For centuries, books were the right way to safeguard and transmit wisdom. yet as libraries and museums digitize their documents and readers abandon paperbacks for capsule pcs, 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 learn are an analogous, the electronic setting is riding disciplines to paintings with new instruments that require significant, and infrequently very tough, institutional adjustments. Now greater than ever, students have to get better the idea and approach to philological research if the arts are to satisfy 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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Additional info for A New Republic of Letters: Memory and Scholarship in the Age of Digital Reproduction

Example text

The Perseus Project (1987–present), The Rossetti Archive, and The Canterbury Tales project (1989–present) are early attempts at building such models. In the case of The Rossetti Archive—about which I can speak from an inner standing-point—building the model exposed the theoretical limitations of the model. That exposure led next to the undertaking of NINES, which attempts a more comprehensive realization of the theory of the new philology. As a philological endeavor, this machinery has to meet the following functions and requirements.

Still, most of it will be lost in one of two ways. It will either disappear through what we might call, adapting Robert Frost, “the slow smokeless burning of decay” and neglect; or it will get—wonderful word—deaccessioned. Alas, the latter process regularly happens “behind the backs,” as Marx was wont to say, of seriously interested parties. Of this we were recently reminded by the Google Settlement discussions, which took place behind the backs of the educational community. —and then as to “the limitations of the new technology [that will] trap and tempt us” into error, the volatile state of our new technology has multiplied those dangers.

The total system must rest in a single perspective that reflects the conception of the system generally agreed upon by its users. In terms of traditional philology, this rule explains the codependent relation that holds between the Lower and the Higher Criticism. That relationship reflects the social character of the system generally considered. In a nonhistorical system—Aristotle’s for example—the parts and classifications are conceived a priori. That is the theory of the system. In philology, however, Aristotle’s categories and topoi are understood as socially inflected and historically emergent.

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A New Republic of Letters: Memory and Scholarship in the Age of Digital Reproduction by Jerome McGann


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