A while ago I, when German edition philology had become saturated by French post-structuralist ‘theory’, there was – here a there – some whispered talk about a ‘Diskursedition’ or discourse edition. Nothing concrete had been presented or published yet, but the idea had been tossed around, though in a very early stage of conception. So I decided to investigate the issue within my larger project on Editorial Pluralism – and since there were no actual examples of discourse editions or edited ‘discourse(s)’ around, I came up with a thought experiment instead: How would an endeavour like that of ‘editing a discourse’ look like? How would it have to be conceptualized, framed, justified and then: realized? What would the specific challenges be, and what (new/different) kinds of answers would it help find? More so: given the notorious vagueness of the term and of the concept ‘discourse’ (as coined by Michel Foucault and then wildly appropriated), what would serve as the object(s) of the edition? I presented my thoughts first at the international conference of the Society of Textual Scholarship and Textual Cultures (STS), ‘The Objects of Editing’ at the Loyola University in Chicago in 2013 and put them down in writing shortly after. Due to the rather unusual nature of the paper (after all, thought experiments as such are not a common genre of academic text in edition philology nor are they exercised often in literary studies) it took me a while to find a publication outlet that would sit well with both the content and the form.

The article “Editing a Discourse, Not a Text: Meta-Methodological Remarks on an Editorial Endeavour” has now been published in the Journal of Literary Theory (JLT), Vol. 10, Issue 2. Via the publishers website, both the long abstract and the bibliography are freely accessible. The full text can be downloaded via institutional subscription or individual payment, however, as usual I provide anyone with a free copy (.pdf-file) who requests one!

25. April 2016 · Comments Off on New Publication: Paratext & New Media – A Conceptual Transfer · Categories: Research Dissemination · Tags: , ,

I am happy to announce that my article ‘Paratext’ und Neue Medien. Probleme und Perspektiven eines Begriffstransfers (Paratext and New Media. Problems and Perspectives of a Conceptual Transfer) has been published with the online journal PhiN – Philologie im Netz. It is my first open access publication which makes me especially proud!

You can read the complete article for free here: http://www.phin.de/phin76/p76i.htm. It is in German, though.

Are there paratexts in the realm of new (audio-visual, digital) media; and, if so, which? Focusing on conceptual analysis and terminological clarification, I try to show that any answer to these questions will depend on the underlying definition of the pivotal term ‘paratext’. Someone simply assuming the definitional criteria originally suggested by Gérard Genette will end up with a different answer (and a different set of ‘media paratexts’) than someone putting forward their very own stipulative definition of the term. I argue that, for the sake of communicative clarity and mutual understanding, it is crucial to explicitly bring to mind the correlation between terminological determinations, practical deliberations and empirical research, and to map the prospects of and limits to the conceptual transfer in question.

I have elaborated on the concept of ‘paratext’ in earlier articles, namely the 2009 journal publication Typographie als Paratext? Anmerkungen zu einer terminologischen Konfusion (Typography as Paratext? Remarks on a Terminological Confusion), co-authored with Per Röcken and more recently the 2014 book chapter Video Game Framings. In: Examining Paratextual Theory and its Applications in Digital Culture. Edited by Nadine Desrochers & Daniel Apollon. ()

12. January 2016 · Comments Off on What to Expect in 2016 – a Rough Sketch · Categories: Research Dissemination · Tags: , ,

Neues Jahr, neues Glück!

My last blog post was a while ago and I haven’t been able to stick to my blogging schedule, too. However, since it’s only 12 days in the new year 2016, it’s still fine to make some resolutions. Shall we?!

#1 First of all, I want to update this blog more often, I guess, at least once a month should be reasonably doable. (Also: this post will serve as the once per month for January, unless I decide to create another, more thematic one later.) The main reason I do that for is to keep track of my various academic activities and at the same time tell my audience about what it is I do: too often I found myself taking for granted that people I meet, on-line as well as off-line, know what a humanities researcher does in her day-to-day work. They don’t. So I decided to talk about it more!

#2 Finish THE project aka the doctoral dissertation. I have invested a lot in this project and I am at the point where I want it to be finally done: and out of the way. I will use this year to present my work at a couple of specialist conferences, discuss it with my supervisors and colleagues, but mainly: finish the write-up. The database, which is a pivotal part of my dissertation, will get updated and edited, too; I hope to get all the relevant publications of 2016 in before I deliver the thesis.

#3 Finish a couple of articles that are not related to my doctoral dissertation but I agreed on doing. This will be: an article (comprised of a series of blog posts on my Georg Greflinger project blog) on the Nordischer Mercurius and the spreading of news in C17th Germany. An article on the digital scholarly edition of early modern prints (from the perspective of German edition philology). Additionally, there are three articles in submission/peer review that I hope to get published in 2016.

#4 Publish the inaugural volume of the Georg Greflinger digital edition, the Ethica Complementoria edition. It looks like the edition, incl. studies on the Ethica and its transmission and transformation will be published within a book series as well as (the edited texts) online and open access. A lot of work has gone into making this project happen that has had no and still doesn’t have any funding or institutional affiliation. I am confident that it will see the light of day in 2016. More on this project can be found on the project website blog.

#5 And last but not least: Have the 1st conference and members meeting of the association for Digital Humanities in the Nordic countries (DHN) here in Oslo in March. I am very much looking forward to see the product of our combined efforts and experience a thriving, vibrant DH community in Norway and Scandinavia!

So: stay tuned!

[a little out of the ordinary, this bloggage is in German]

Am 24. Juli war ich zum Expertengespräch und Workshop im neuen Digitalisierungs- und Editionsprojekt Narragonien digital der Universität Würzburg, welches im Rahmen des Würzburger Digitalisierungszentrums Kallimachos gefördert wird, eingeladen. Anlass war eine erste Orientierung sowie Sondierungs- und Konsultationsgespräche in Vorbereitung der Digitalisierung und editorischen Bearbeitung der für das Projekt ausgewählten Narrenschiff-Drucke. Gemeinsam mit zwei weiteren externen Kollegen (aus der Latinistik und der Romanistik) fand der Workshop im kleinen Kreis mit den Projektleitern und -mitarbeitern in informellem Austausch statt. 2009–2011 hatte ich mich bereits umfänglich mit der sog. editio princeps (Basel 1494) des Narrenschiffs von Sebastian Brant unter druckanalytisch-medienhistorischen Gesichtspunkten sowie programmatisch zu einer Neuedition im und für das digitale Medium geäussert, und es war schön zu sehen, dass in einem so groß aufgestellten Projekt wie Narragonien digital meine Überlegungen zur Wahl der Editionsgrundlage, zur Transgraphierung und zu den editorischen Beigaben Eingang finden werden (vgl. hierzu: A.R.: Sebastian Brants »Narrenschiff«Kritische Würdigung vorliegender Editionen und prinzipielle Überlegungen zu einer Neu-Edition. In: editio 25 (2011), p. 42–73).

Narragonien digital fokussiert vor allem auch die Übersetzungen, Übertragungen und Bearbeitungen des Narrenschiffs um 1500 (in verschiedene deutsche Druckersprachen, aber auch ins Lateinische, Französische, Englische), die bisher von der Forschung eher vernachlässigt worden sind und auch keine editorische Aufbereitung erfahren haben. Darüber hinaus versucht das ambitionierte Projekt, eine OCR (optical character recognition) für Frühdrucktypographie zu trainieren, die zuverlässig Drucke der in Frage kommenden Offizinen, in Antiqua- und gebrochenen Schriften, erkennen – und die Texte damit auch maschinenlesbar zugänglich machen – kann. Eine funktionierende und in ihren Resultaten zufrieden stellende OCR für gebrochene Schriften (der Frühdruckzeit) ist seit langem ein Desiderat und es bleibt zu hoffen, dass im Rahmen des Würzburger Projekts hier signifikante Fortschritte gemacht werden, von denen die community der Frühneuzeitforscher und -editoren – auch und vor allem in kleinen und Kleinstprojekten – wird profitieren können.

Meine Beschäftigung mit dem Narrenschiff war und ist zunächst druck- und buchgeschichtlich, genauer: typographiegeschichtlich. Vor diesem Hintergrund würde ich mir vor allem wünschen, dass die OCR nicht “nur” den Text möglichst fehlerfrei erkennen kann, sondern auch die jeweiligen Schriftklassen: für eine computergestützte Analyse der Typenverteilung im Narrenschiff-Erstdruck wäre dies enorm hilfreich und könnte wesentlich dazu beitragen, den Satz und die Korrekturfolgen der editio princeps für alle Bogenseiten zu rekonstruieren (mir war dies im Rahmen meiner Studie nur für die Lage E möglich). Die Buch- und Druckforschung, insbesondere die Inkunabelkunde, könnte hier in der Breite neue Erkenntnisse zur Frühdruckzeit gewinnen und gesicherte(re) Schlüsse aus dem überlieferten Material auf dessen Herstellung sowie die Verbreitung und den Handel mit Drucktypen ziehen!

Nach dem Workshop und den vielen intensiven Gesprächen plane ich, meine Arbeiten an der causa Narrenschiff-Erstdruck in naher Zukunft wieder auf zu nehmen und stelle diese gerne dem Narragonien-Projekt als Addendum der digitalen Edition sowie zur Weiterarbeit zur Verfügung.

03. March 2015 · Comments Off on Video Game Framings – Examining Paratextual Theory and Its Applications in Digital Culture · Categories: Game Studies, Research Dissemination · Tags: , , ,


My chapter contribution to the anthology “Examining Paratextual Theory and Its Applications in Digital Culture“, edited by Nadine Desrochers (Université de Montréal, Canada) and Daniel Apollon (University of Bergen, Norway) has been published by IGI Global (promised for April 2014, actually accessible since January 2015). The book which contains 16 chapters and an introductory part by the editors tries to cover a broad variety of disciplines (mostly in the humanities with some social sciences and information science) and tackles the often rather vaguely employed concept of paratext or paratextuality, respectively, in ‘digital culture’, meaning anything from electronic literature, to new media, from video games to online pornography platforms and from digital ‘objects’ to fanfiction in online forums.

Here’s the original abstract to my 35 pages long chapter titled “Video Game Framings

This chapter discusses the applicability of the concept of ‘paratext’ (as coined by Gérard Genette) to audio-visual media in general and to video games in particular. In the first section, some potential elements of a video game’s ‘paratext’ are singled out by means of ‘auto-ethnographic’ description of the introductory sequence(s) of the first-person shooter game BioShock Infinite. Several segments of the game’s ‘threshold’ are differentiated employing a rather tentative ad-hoc terminology. In the second section, Genette’s definitional stipulations, posing the point of reference for everyone actually using the term ‘paratext,’ are reconstructed, clarified and constructively criticized. Here, the author also discusses potential objections to Genette’s definitional criteria and briefly touches upon some media-theoretical constraints of his approach. Ensuing from these meta-terminological considerations, the author turns to the questionable use of ‘paratext’ in video game studies. As critical examination reveals, the terminology in this field of research is rather vaguely connected to, and sometimes even completely detached from, Genette’s definition. As an objection to such redefinitions of the term, the chapter suggests (1) that its use be restricted to communicative signals meeting the following criteria only: (a) functionally subservient to (which obviously implies specifically referring to) ‘the game proper,’ (b) authorized by entitled members of the game’s production collective, (c) verbal, (d) (at least partly) extra-diegetic. Additionally, (2) the chapter proposes supplementing ‘paratext’ as an analytical tool with the higher-order umbrella term ‘framings’ (as coined by Werner Wolf).

The chapter is a close reading of Genette’s main terminological contributions to the concept of ‘paratext’ and an in-depth, analytical discussion of it and it’s appropriation, especially in new media studies. It will thus, hopefully (I dare say!), be an incentive to a discussion that is notably absent but necessary nonetheless. – If you’re only interested in the terminological clarifications and the discussion of the concept and its appropriation, you can skip the first part. However, if you want to follow me along entering the video game world of Bioshock Infinite™ in an auto-ethnographic narrative, you should definitely immerse yourself in part 1!

You can purchase the article or the complete book at IGI Global’s webshop. But I suggest that if you’re interested in my contribution and don’t want to or simply cannot afford to purchase it, to ask me and I will gladly provide you with a personal copy! Just send me an email!

07. August 2014 · Comments Off on Published: co-authored article in collection on typography, materiality, literature, and meaning · Categories: Research Dissemination, Textual Scholarship · Tags: , ,

Few days ago I received the print edition of long-awaited collection of articles (or: edited conference proceedings)

Text – Material – Medium. Zur Relevanz editorischer Dokumentationen für die literaturwissenschaftliche Interpretation. Ed. by Wolfgang Lukus, Rüdiger Nutt-Kofoth, Madleen Podewski. Berlin, Boston: de Gruyter 2014 (Beihefte zu editio. 37). 303 pages.

The collection contains 16 original articles in six thematic sections, and a comprehensive introduction (pp. 1–22) by the editors. (A link to the pdf-file of the table of contents can be found here).

My (co-authored) article is one of two in the opening section “Aspekte zu Theorie und Geschichte” (theory & history),

Annika Rockenberger, Per Röcken: Wie ‘bedeutet’ ein ‘material text’. In: Text – Material – Medium. Zur Relevanz editorischer Dokumentationen für die literaturwissenschaftliche Interpretation. Ed. by Wolfgang Lukus, Rüdiger Nutt-Kofoth, Madleen Podewski. Berlin, Boston: de Gruyter 2014 (Beihefte zu editio. 37), pp. 25–51.

In the article, I investigate how a material text (or: materiality in general regarding works of literature, be they printed, handwritten, engraved, painted, or even digital) means, that is: I shed some light on the notoriously vague and ambiguous term ‘meaning’ and its use, and following this clarification I tie the term to a production-oriented (communicator/sender-oriented) sign theory. Ensuing from this, I distinguish three classes of signs and show where, when, and how they are to be used when analyzing or ‘interpreting’ material aspects of (literary) texts. I exemplify, reconstruct, and critically discuss a couple of cases from (German) literary studies where material aspects have been part of or are the main focus of the interpretation of a literary text.

Once I am in the possession of a pdf-version of the printed collection, I’ll send it to anyone interested upon request! The pdf-version is accessible via the De Gruyter website (paywall) here.

The other thematic sections of the collection are: “Skriptografische Materialität: Entwurfshandschriften” (scriptographical materiality: draft manuscripts) with articles by Almuth Grésillon, Burghard Dedner, Johannes Barth, Johannes John, Gabriele Sander, and Kai Bremer. Followed by section III “Typographische Materialität I: Buch” (typographical materiality I: book) with contributions by Thomas Rahn, Gabriele Wix, and Franziska Mayer. Section IV “Typografische Materialität II: Buch vs. Zeitung/Zeitschrift” (typographical materiality II: book vs. newspaper/journal) with articles by Barbara von Reibnitz, Michael Scheffel, and Gustav Frank. The last two sections have only one contribution each: section V “Nichtschriftliche Materialität I: Audiophone Varianz” (non-scriptural materiality I: audiophone variants) with an article by Andreas Meier and section VI “Nichtschriftliche Materialität II: Die ‘Schreibszene’ jenseits des Textes” (non-scriptural materiality II: the ‘scene of writing’ beyond the text) with a witty essay by Bodo Plachta about writers’ desks, inkpots, pens, and paperweights.

You can buy the collection via de Gruyter (hardcover/e-pub) or seek out a library that has a copy. If you’re interested in my article, just send me an email and I will provide you with a pdf-version!

P.S. Due to a rather long production process of the collection (the conference was held in February 2011), I was not able to include any references to literature newer than 2012. Last changes to my article were made in October 2012!

24. June 2014 · Comments Off on Review of: Editorische Begrifflichkeit. Ed. by Gunter Martens. Berlin, Bosten 2013 · Categories: Research Dissemination, Textual Scholarship · Tags: , ,

I just published a review of the German anthology or conference proceedings:

Editorische Begrifflichkeit. Überlegungen und Materialien zu einem ‘Wörterbuch der Editionsphilologie’. Ed. by Gunter Martens. Berlin, Boston: de Gruyter 2013 (Beihefte zu editio. 36)

The review is about to appear in the latest issue of Zeitschrift für Germanistik XXIV.3 (2014), pp. 690–692.
Although I am much in favour of a German dictionary or lexicon of edition philology / textual scholarship, I was a little disappointed with the anthology: the theoretical and methodological articles as well as some of the material and sample entries were frustratingly heterogenous, unfocussed, and partly outdated. (The anthology assembles conference papers and articles from the late 1990s that were, in some cases, slightly updated and edited.) In my view, the best and most useful part of the anthology is Martin Boghardt’s systematic collection and preparation of sample entries from the fields of analytical and descriptive bibliography and print history:

Martin Boghardt: Begriffe aus der analytischen Druckforschung. In: Editorische Begrifflichkeit. Überlegungen und Materialien zu einem ‘Wörterbuch der Editionsphilologie’. Ed. by Gunter Martens. Berlin, Boston: de Gruyter 2013 (Beihefte zu editio. 36), pp. 163–192. – Access to article here (attention! paywall!)

This mini-lexicon could be the point of departure for a comprehensive new lexicon of edition philology / textual scholarship for German and Germanic studies. It should, however, NOT become another print-only, publishing company directed endeavour, but instead make use of the technologies and established and proved practices of online lexicology and be as open access and as collaborative as possible!

My review can be found here, soon. (Or you could ask me to send you a pdf!) The reviewed anthology can be accessed (attention! paywall!) here or purchased.