In this book, the reader will find a compilation of papers presenting and analysing the methodological steps that those engaged in the critical edition of literature manuscripts should follow. The book stresses the need for exceptional attention during the first stage of the editing process, which is gathering and examining the manuscript copies of the text to be edited. It also explains the risks in altering or making a mistake in the title. In addition, this book emphasises the necessity of adhering to the methodological rules in properly documenting the text, and authenticating its attribution to the author. This is to be accomplished by following up the sources cited by the work, those quoted within the text itself, and other works who quoted the text elsewhere, and subjecting them to analysis, basing the outcomes on the gathered evidence.
We are also reminded within this book of the importance of the introduction in the critical edition of a text, in parallel to its content. The book thus gives the key rules that assist in the creation of a good introduction, starting with the advice to read examples of good introductions of other critical editions.
In addition, the training course papers included in this book explore the matter of tracing all extant manuscript copies of a text that is linked to its author, and how to classify these by originality, integrity, and timeframe of production. The papers also look at the critical edition of poetry collections and anthologies, and the methods employed by past scholars in gathering, verifying, and recording poetry.
As a whole, the book highlights the experience required by those wishing to enter this field at the different stages of the editing process, such as the stages of documenting the text and establishing its author, establishing variant readings and narrations, disambiguating vague or difficult terms, creating indexes, and, finally, dealing with transcriptions by copyists and their impact in the misinterpretation or misreading of the original texts.