Raffaella Tabacco, Strumenti digitali e edizioni critiche: un rapporto complesso

This essay examines what a critical edition of ancient classical texts is supposed to be and to contain and how a computer can be helpful in the different stages of the editor’s work. After a survey on the best known digital tools which can be used for the preparation and publication of scholarly printed critical editions (CTE, LaTeX, TUSTEP), the essay gets on the specific topic of electronic editions. New philology emphasizes on the importance of reconstructing the history of all the manuscripts forming a tradition – and computers can indeed provide invaluable help towards this goal – but, even if this documental effort deserves approval, there is in it the risk of producing an enormous amount of documents and data that can paralyze the editor’s work. The boundaries between a philological edition and an archive become confused, above all in case of a wide tradition made up of many manuscripts, and the truly philological task of establishing a hierarchy amongst witnesses is put aside. The true task of an editor of ancient classical works is to produce a text that is readable for its users and not to load on their shoulders the responsibility of choosing between variants. The concept of ‘mobile text’ and the way it is applied to modern and medieval texts cannot be used for ancient classical works, for which the principles of traditional ecdotics mantain their value, whether the final product is printed or electronic.

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