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!