Documentary Editing, Association for


Date of this Version


Document Type



Newsletter of the Association for Documentary Editing, Volume 3, Number 1, February 1981. ISSN 0196-7134


© Association for Documentary Editing, 1981. Used by permission.


All those engaged in the editing of literary and historical documents are deeply in debt to Dr. Tanselle for his thorough analysis of the editorial standards that have been set for the dozens of projects now going forward. Somewhat to the embarrassment of the profession, he has seized upon individual statements of editorial practice that have internal inconsistencies and that are in conflict with the editor's actual practice. And although his article, now before us for discussion, is aimed primarily at the shortcomings of historical editors, he has not let the literary fraternity escape unscathed, some of whom, he finds, are guilty of the same sins as the historians. Nor is Dr. Tanselle all negative in his assessments. He gives generous praise to historians for annotation that provides the needed context for edited documents. Some of us are thankful that he is not at all disturbed about the length of notes and that he firmly eschews the charge of triviality that has been leveled by some historians. "If a note illuminates, who is to say that it is trivial or time-wasting?" he seems to ask. He finds that the scholars of literature need to do more than they have done to provide the settings for the works they edit.