Documentary Editing, Association for


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It's a commonplace among textual bibliographers that the questions they ask and answer apply across many different disciplines. As Fredson Bowers long ago argued, "No matter what the field of study, the basis lies in the analysis of the records in printed or in manuscript form."l Not just in high literature, but in history, philosophy, and the history of science, modern bibliographical editing is widely recognized as indispensable. Yet in bibliography's, and Professor Bowers', own traditional fiefdom, the English graduate program, one area has been almost totally neglected. Whereas twenty-five years ago, it was students of modern literature, especially the novel, who needed persuading that good texts matter, nowadays the relevance of traditional textual scholarship is more likely to be questioned by colleagues and graduate students from the mushrooming sub-specialty of composition studies. Bruce Harkness has not yet, so far as I know, given us a modernized apologia, "Bibliography and the Rhetorical Fallacy." What examples can the textual bibliographer offer to meet this new generation of questioning?