Documentary Editing, Association for


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Newsletter of the Association for Documentary Editing, Volume 4, Number 1, February 1982. ISSN 0196-7134


© Association for Documentary Editing, 1982. Used by permission.


The seven components of Literary & Historical Editing are three introductory pieces (two by the editors and the third, a survey of modern literary and historical editions, by James Thorpe), essays by George C. Rogers, Jr., and G. Thomas Tanselle on textual editing, and two discussions of annotation. Martin C. Battestin's suggestions about literary annotation-which have also been published in volume 34 of Studies in Bibliography (1981)struck me as sensible and clear, especially if one may accept at face value his disclaimers: that he is not"trying to do for the literary annotator what Greg has done for the textual editor,» and "that there can be no single rationale of literary annotation that will prove universally practicable and appropriate" (p. 59). Charles T. Cullen's survey of annotation practices in modern editions of historical documents is, in my estimation, our first substantial published discussion of the question. Feigning surprise "that even [editors] do not agree on a set of principles of annotation" (p. 81), Cullen himself eschews any definition of rarefied principles and advocates sound editorial judgment, moderation, and a clear "focus on the subject of the publication" (p. 91). By reporting what historical editors 5 have thought they were doing during the past thirty years, Cullen also places in high relief a few of the confused assumptions and professional insecurities that marked historical editing during the third quarter of the twentieth century (and that still limit the working vocabulary of a rising generation of historians). If I read them correctly, both Battestin and Cullen doubt the existence or desirability of any theory of annotation applicable to all cases. Clearly, annotation is among the applied rather than the pure sciences.