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Translating the Alliterative Morte Arthure into a Digital Medium: The Influence of Physical Context on Editorial Theory

Translating the Alliterative Morte Arthure into a Digital Medium: The Influence of Physical Context on Editorial Theory

Carlson, John Ivor

Arthuriana 20.2 (2010)

Abstract

This article examines the impact of a modern digital edition of the Alliterative Morte Arthure on editorial rationale, arguing that a change in physical context entails a deep change in the analytical context within which the poem is perceived. More precisely, I will illustrate the ‘dynamic’ potential of a digital edition, which allows an editor or reader to accommodate multiple reading texts reflecting different degrees of editorial certainty, and thus constitutes a significant advance compared to more traditional methods of presentation. Ultimately the possibility of contemplating such plural, open-ended and provisional possibilities within the context of a digital edition of the Morte Arthure widens the range of editorial and interpretive interaction with the text itself.

Editing a literary work like the Morte Arthure is always a twofold act of translation, involving changes to its physical and analytical contexts. The physical movement from original documentary source to modern publication medium involves changes that should be obvious upon reflection, while analytical change results from applying editorial methods to a text.

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