Have the bibliographers and textual editors among us said anything about the blog-as-edition? We have Stoker blogging, Pepys blogging, Isaac D'Israeli blogging--and, I've just discovered, Thoreau blogging. When the blog has comments enabled, the text becomes an interactive edition...a semi-wiki, if such a thing is possible. Both "professional" and "amateur" readers can drop in, discuss the text, supply annotations, and so forth. This informal approach to constructing an edition is much different than that employed by, say, Sheila Spector in her edition of Alroy--not least, from an academic reader's perspective, because bloggers appear to be reprinting editions in the public domain instead of collating multiple editions, going back to the original MSS, and the like. I hasten to add that I'm not at all criticizing the informal method; it's producing its own collaborative reading and writing experience. In a sense, this kind of blog project becomes a public reading group, with the readers producing the text as they discuss it. But it does add a new wrinkle to the concept of an "edition."
D'Israeli aside, the texts that so far seem most attractive for blog editions are, not surprisingly, journals and epistolary novels. Someone out there must be planning the Clarissa blog, the Sir Charles Grandison blog, or perhaps the Dorothy Wordsworth blog. (Please spare us all the My Secret Life blog.) As someone who regularly teaches novels originally published in serial format, I'm interested in whether or not the posting schedule of these blogs affects how readers approach these texts. Is the prospect of reading Pepys less nerve-wracking when approached day-by-day? Does reading Dracula entry-by-entry accentuate the novel's gothic elements? Inquiring minds want to know. Or have any minds inquired already?[X-posted from The Little Professor]
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Jonathan Dresner - 7/27/2005
In honor of this post, and with additional suggestions from Ralph and myself, we've created a Primary Sources category for the Blogroll. One oddity of this, though: I've retained our tradition of alphabetizing by blog title, though I was strongly tempted to do it by author. We're open to comments either way, and always interested in further suggestions.
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