Editing from Manuscripts

Dr Daniel Hadas (King’s College London). 
Half-day. 10.00 -13.00
Maximum: 15 students

All surviving texts from before the invention of printing are preserved because they were copied by hand. Each such text has its unique history (habent sua fata libelli). Who copied the text? When, where and why? The editor’s task is first to reconstruct this history from the fragments that have come down to us, and then to produce a new version that both explains that reconstruction and is as helpful as possible to modern readers.

You will learn how editors have gone about this work, both historically and today. We will discuss general problems of method, and take a close look at specific cases. We will work directly with manuscript evidence, and consider how best an editor would handle it.

The focus will be on Latin texts, so a good level of Latin is recommended.



L. D. Reynolds and N. G. Wilson, Scribes and Scholars, 2nd edition, 2013, Oxford.

L. D. Reynolds, ‘Experiences of an editor of Classical Latin Texts’, Revue d’histoire des textes 30 (2000), 1-15 (online: https://www.persee.fr/doc/rht_0373-6075_2001_num_30_2000_1487).

R. Tarrant, Texts, Editors and Readers, 2016, Cambridge.