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Pragmatic or Pure? Two Experiments in Editing

Cynthia Damon

University of Pennsylvania

This talk is a report from the field on two experiments in editing conducted with recent classes at Penn. The first, following a purist model for born-digital editions, started with the transcription of the manuscripts and—eventually—yielded a critical edition of the Bellum Alexandrinum for the Library of Digital Latin Texts. Over the course of 4 years it involved about 80 undergraduates, Postbacs, and graduate students at Penn and some high school students from the Philadelphia area. The second, conducted in graduate seminars on Tacitus in 2012 and 2018, took a pragmatic approach and produced a mockup of a variorum edition of Tacitus' Annals, its future still to be determined.

The pros and cons of each method will be weighed. Neither model is perfect, but in the process of working closely with manuscripts and print editions and thinking about their digital future we all learned a great deal about a fundamental tool of our trade. It now seems clear that the next generation of critical editions can improve significantly on past ones by making the critical apparatus a more lively companion to our texts. The Digital Latin Library offers a way to do just that. 

Session/Panel Title:

The Digital Latin Library

Session/Paper Number

65.4

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