Editing (Journals?) in the Late Age of Print

Byron Hawk

Enculturation, Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 2002

Rev. of Loizeaux, Elizabeth Bergmann, and Neil Fraistat, eds. Reimagining Textuality: Textual Studies in the Late Age of Print. Madison, WI: U of Wisconsin P, 2002.

Cutting and pasting words, cutting and pasting pixels, cutting and pasting genes—ours is a culture of cutting and pasting, of grafting, of breeding, transplanting, recombining.

Joseph Grigely

While for some in cultural theory or rhetoric and composition this collection may offer little that is new, it does provide an important frame for textual studies—the term the editors apply to the "cross-pollination of postmodernism and textual scholarship" (5). As Fraistat and Loizeaux see it, "Until recently, the gap between textual scholarship and postmodern theory and criticism was nowhere wider than in their divergent concepts of text and textuality" (5). The exigence for closing this gap between a field that focuses on editing and archiving texts from a philological perspective and a field that focuses on re-writing and re-distributing texts has been the emergence of electronic textuality. The recognition that textuality exists beyond the printed book prompted the reconfiguration of the field in terms of postmodernism and poststructuralism, which have been heralded as pre-figuring electronic textuality. The new field of textual studies expands textual scholarship's purview beyond editing and archiving to issues of production, distribution, reproduction, consumption, reception, and sociology of texts. At root, the narrowing of this gap has moved textual scholarship into the realm of rhetoric—both the linguistic and material elements of a text are seen and understood within the context of its production, transmission, and reception.

Such a rhetorical turn opens the way for a turn to visual rhetoric as well. As Fraistat and Loizeaux note, Jerome McGann's distinction between bibliographic codes—elements such as page layout, typography, color, cover designs, and illustrations—and linguistic codes—the main texts, prefaces, dedications, endnotes, indexes, and appendixes—clearly opens textual scholarship to the visual and the way it communicates in concert with the textual (6). As George Landow makes clear, the world of hypertext and hypermedia makes the combination of the textual and the visual inevitable and something textual scholarship can no longer ignore. So much of Hypertext and Hypertext 2.0 focuses on the refiguration of the book, especially the primary texts and their surrounding scholarship. Many of his examples of hypertexts are of primary literary texts that have been expanded into hypertexts through links to other supporting texts, other primary texts, other literary and scientific texts, student criticism, expert criticism and marginalia, as well as important visual illustrations, which opens the text to multiple arrangements and designs that are open to ongoing growth and expansion.

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Citation Format:
Hawk, Byron. "Editing (Journals?) in the Late Age of Print." Rev. of Reimagining Textuality: Textual Studies in the Late Age of Print, eds. E. Loizeaux and N. Fraistat. Enculturation: Special Multi- journal Issue on Electronic Publication 4.1 (Spring 2002): http://enculturation.net/4_1/hawk

Contact Information:
Byron Hawk, George Mason University
Email: bhawk@gmu.edu
Home Page: http://mason.gmu.edu/~bhawk

Copyright © Enculturation 2002

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