On Scholarly Annotation

This blog post will be discursive, as it is of the open notebook sort and will review the literature while in the process (hopefully) of clarifying my own thought. The literature on scholarly annotation is not particularly extensive, but a selective list of important essays (several of which are glossed below) is found in G. Thomas Tanselle’s seminar syllabus for scholarly editing (see pgs. 19-20). I have reviewed several models of scholarly annotation–theories and individual editions–and I give them in historical order of appearance, as the theory of scholarly annotation hews closely to the practice. Those who have annotated themselves comment most usefully about nuts-and-bolts of practice, but a few theoretical statements seem to me worth noting.

As preparation for a scholarly edition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, I have been thinking systematically about scholarly annotation: its audience, its aims, the process for preparing it, and the presentation of annotation in an edition. Most discussions of annotation treat only first two matters in any detail. The innovation that I will claim is that I believe it would be valuable to apply John Bryant’s theory of fluid text to the annotation of allusion, with Gregory Machacek’s innovative suggestion that when speaking of allusion one should distinguish between the “spur” (the wording in another text to which one alludes) and the reprise (the wording in the new context). Both are discussed after the initial review of annotation literature.

Significant Articles on Annotation and Annotated Editions

  • Arthur Friedman in “Principles of Historical Annotation in Critical Editions of Modern Texts” (1941) designates historical annotation as secondary to textual annotation (113), for he observes that reasonable thoroughness is possible when establishing a (modern) text but opines that the “search for stray allusions and sources can go on indefinitely” (116). Annotation is untheorized, he speculates, because it is a matter of judgment that depends “to a large extent on the erudition and tact of the editor” (117). His first substantive observation is that annotation depends in part on genre: a literary work with innumerable allusions (Pope’s Dunciad) demands copious recovery of historical contexts, which is not characteristic of a philosophical tract (Hume’s Dialogues). The latter demands a searching review only of author’s other writings. (I tend to disagree: Friedman assumes that allusion when present is easily recognizable, but I don’t believe that. Friedman, below, will acknowledge the same, at least implicitly). Friedman rejects annotations “drawn from writings later than the one being edited” (119) and castigates an editor who shall remain nameless for doing so. He advises instead that editors should “only annotate what his author says about a subject, not the whole subject and everything connected with it” (119). During Friedman’s era, the interest was presumed to be the author’s intent and that only (hence his scorn toward annotation that considers responses of subsequent poets), but we no longer cling to authorial intent as an only possible guiding principle. I have much sympathy for Friedman’s position, but the history of reception should not be restricted only to variorum mode annotation. Among items of salutary advice he observes that “as complete an analysis as possible should always precede annotation” and that an important purpose of annotation is to identify “unmistakable plagiarism from earlier writings” (121-122). Too little of this work has been done for Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin: she engages in plagiarisms of her earlier writings and has a hyper-aggressive allusion style, an under-appreciated signature of her art. Knowing which books Stowe had would help a lot: Friedman advises that seeming allusions are more convincing when a book that the author consulted is a close in time to author’s era, and going one step further, knowing Stowe’s library contents, would certainly help. I fear my work will be slightly deficient on that. Friedman also recommends cultural background on ideas, to show the distinctiveness of the author’s treatment (124). From these he transitions to a second type of notes, “information known to the author’s contemporary readers but lost to the passage of time”; and to aid with such, Friedman advises consulting contemporary works rather than “modern reference books” (125). Friedman of course recommends magazines and newspapers (126): while his advice would have been distressing to mid-20th century editors, today we have access to searchable digital databases, which do not lessen requirements but instead require scholars to be more ambitious.
  • In “Preparing Explanatory Annotation” (1972), the MLA’s Center for Editions of American Authors (CEAA, later renamed the Committee on Scholarly Editions [CSE]) has brief but pertinent advice, though I skip its advice for works not intended for publication, such as letters or journals: “Works intended by the author for publication vary in the degree to which explanatory annotation is necessary. In general terms it may be said that such notes seem more appropriate for historical and biographical work than for fiction and poetry, though the nature and range of allusion are more significant factors” (11). They note that Northwestern-Newberry Melville omits explanatory notes but that Iowa-California Twain includes them. Then they offer almost comical practical advice: 1) editors and adequate time are needed to do annotation, 2) omit annotation if other editions are well annotated, or let someone else annotate the work when re-published (11). While you’re at that, look both ways before crossing the road. In sum, the CEAA (1972) had no considered position on annotation, except that it was a matter of judgment, up to and including that annotation might be omitted entirely. I do think, however, that phrase “nature and range of allusion” implies that the more noticeably allusive writers (whether said writers address selves to a coterie or to other learned persons in the period) deserve more copious annotation. I shall have more to say below, especially in discussion of Carlin’s annotation of Country of the Pointed Firs, about my belief that scholars from the 1940s to the 1970s underestimated the value of annotation for works that were not obviously allusive or learned. But the theory of annotation progressed little between Friedman and the CEAA’s 1972 statement, and his claim that annotation was probably necessary seems even lost favor.
  • Martin Battestin’s annotation for the Wesleyan Tom Jones (1975) are wildly rewarding, and his is the first edition that caused me to genuinely appreciate explanatory annotation. I read Tom Jones in a graduate class, and I selected the Wesleyan edition (rather than the assigned text) because my interest was (and is) scholarly editing. The textual work on that edition is by Fredson Bowers, one of the giants of Anglo-American scholarly editing, and at that graduate school enthusiast stage I often enjoyed textual essays more than historical background. (In my secret life, I still do.) But in the Wesleyan edition, Battestin’s annotation shine. Having Battestin’s annotations seemed often like an unfair advantage: my classmates were stuck with a Wordsworth’s or Penguin or Oxford World’s Classics edition. Battestin’s notes are very learned, but they are gracious and highly readable: they enrich rather than distract. Consider but one example, which Battestin highlights in his own essay (below), the gloss on “Good-Nature.” As Battestin recognizes, almost no 20th-century reader would recognize this as a significant designation, and I add that modernized capitalization would obscure its importance further. He notes that Good-Nature was the “distinguishing characteristic of all Fielding’s moral men” (Tom Jones 39 n. 1). Then, in about 150 words, he proves that what it meant to Fielding is “benevolent, social affections which lead us to empathic involvement in the concerns of others and which prompt us to charitable actions.” That is, it is NOT the common-place 21st century definition, “Pleasant, kindly, or obliging disposition or manner; spec[ifically], a willingness to comply with the wishes or accede to the demands of others or to tolerate slights and impositions.” (OED) There is a wide gulf between being prompted to charitable actions (Fielding’s meaning) and a kindly disposition and a readiness to tolerate slights (our own). That is a distance that annotation can (and should) help bridge.
  • The title of Battestin’s essay, “A Rationale of Literary Annotation: The Example of Fielding’s Novels” (Studies in Bibliography [1975]), alludes to Sir Walter Greg’s “The Rationale of Copy-Text” (SiB 3 [1951]). By Battestin’s writing, Greg’s suggestion about copy-text had calcified into rigid doctrine–backed by the authority of the CEAA–so the title “A Rationale” hints at an ambition to lay down the fundamental theory for scholarly annotation. Battestin, of course, denies this, on the basis of the choice “A” in his title: “I mean by the indefinite article in my title–which might otherwise seem to imply that I am here trying to do for the literary annotator what Greg has done for the textual editor–to emphasize that this will be a wholly tentative essay…” (3). And his essay is, in a sense, often no more than refining principles that Friedman had advocated. Battestin reviews Friedman’s “Principles of Historical Annotation” a bit more efficiently than I did above (2-3; 8)–and his entire essay could be read as an extended gloss upon it–but he claims that current state of theory “looks disconcertingly like anarchy,” as one recent editor–examples drawn from 1960s and 1970s–says annotation provides an essential service while another avers that doing is so “morally reprehensible” (3). Battestin identifies “the three chief variables affecting the annotation of any given literary work: (1) the character of the audience which the annotator supposes he is addressing; (2) the nature of the text he is annotating; and (3) the peculiar interests, competencies, and assumptions of the annotator himself” (3). Of the first, he argues that the gulf between an undergraduate and a professor is not as wide as is generally supposed, especially given the increasingly narrow specialization of scholars. Nonetheless, avoid pedantry and condescension, which will clutter page with information easily found elsewhere. As a consequence, notes for scholars are generally “fuller than those addressed to [students],” as scholars may want to check the sources that undergird an argument for the importance of the author’s engagement with or departure from her own cultural moment (6). I find it strange that citing sources remains exception rather than the rule for 21st century annotation. Of the second, Battestin like Friedman invokes Pope’s Dunciad as an example of an impossible-to-annotate-fully poem. He argues, though, that several novels (from 18th Century to 20th) are almost as demanding as poetry. The factors that shape annotation then, regardless of genre, are “obscurity of the contexts to which it relates—literary, intellectual, political, biographical, etc.—and the density of its allusive texture.” (7). The third factor is the idiosyncrasy of the editor: “No two editors will annotate a text in the same way because each, according to his interests, competencies, and assumptions—according, indeed, to his temperament and sensibilities—will respond to the text in different ways” (7). That fact, though, is not a license to do whatever one wants. The consequence of Battestin’s principles are perhaps best expressed in two sentences.
    • First: “Though it is true that we can never hope wholly to recover the meanings of a text in this sense [connotative values familiar to author and original audience], it is also true that an editor who has given some years of his life to studying his author and the historical context in which he wrote is most likely to be aware of them, and that, whenever in his judgment the text may be obscure, he has a responsibility to share his knowledge and understanding with the reader by providing whatever information may be necessary to make the author’s meaning intelligible” (10-11).
    • And, second—here Battestin’s concern is with allusion: “To render that meaning intelligible to the reader, the editor must recover for him the several elements which constitute it in all its complexity. Those elements will certainly include the identity of the author and work alluded to, but they will also include a knowledge of context, of historical and biographical circumstances, and of the occurrence of the same allusion or of similar ones elsewhere in the author’s writings; for only when the reader is apprized of these latter kinds of information will he understand what the allusion meant to the author, why he chose to introduce it at the particular place in the text where it occurs, and how it works there” (12).

    Battestin does offer caution about copiousness in what he identifies (following Friedman) as “notes of recovery,” that editors should “supply the reader with essential information only and in the briefest compass possible” (14). But here he disagrees with Friedman’s axiom that one should never draw from later writings, as Battestin explains that the author’s ideas “may continue to live in his thoughts and therefore may find expression in his later works in ways that can illuminate the passage we are annotating” (15). Battestin offers instead an alternate caution, that annotations should be drawn from nearly contemporary sources (before or after) that illuminate the “useful life of the idea in question” (15). He also has reservations about the usefulness of catching authors in plagiarisms: he attributes Friedman’s interest in the topic to the fact that he worked on Goldsmith, who engaged in extensive plagiaristic borrowing (17). These recommendations are both very Greg-like elements, with the emphasis on judgment rather than hard-and-fast rules. Battestin also asks for a more generous understanding of “contemporaneity.” Friedman advocates a very narrow range, something akin to weeks in which a discussion was ongoing in the popular press, but Battestin allows for “currency during the period of composition.” I think that the notion of currency should be generous. To use a Stowian example, she believed that most of her readers could recall school use of Murray’s Grammar and the New England Primer, so an annotation with the date of publication for either of those as closest to Uncle Tom’s Cabin would be to unnecessarily pedantic.

  • John Carroll’s “Annotating Clarissa” (1975) is a very funny and wise essay, which reminds me a bit of Noel Polk’s “The Stuff that Don’t Matter” for an evocation of the frustrations that annotators face (Polk, though, is concerned with textual editing), but it’s not particularly useful as a statement on the theory of annotation. He offers the helpful reminder that shared passages from a volume known to have been consulted by the writer, in which quotations share same errors, is pretty good evidence that the work was in use by the author: Carroll’s example is Richardson’s use of Edward Byssche’s Art of English Poetry, an anthology of poetic beauties. (Side note: Recently, I’ve been browsing flower dictionaries, which were to me surprisingly similar).
  • Ian Jack’s “Novels and Those ‘Necessary Evils’: Annotating the Brontës” (Essays in Criticism 32:4 [1982]: 321-337) draws attention to 19th-century commonplaces that would scarcely elicit attention in their own day but may be puzzling by late 20th century, and would thus profit from annotation. He discusses, for example, Yorkshire dialect in Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. The responsibility of the editor, he argues, is “to attempt to enable his contemporaries to read a book as its original audience read it. This calls for explanation of words which are unfamiliar or which have changed their meaning, the provision of information about social customs and historical events, and the identification of quotations and allusions” (323). That’s admirably succinct. He has a nice comment on the importance of biblical allusion and hurls a gratuitous insult at Q. D. Leavis. The essay was prompted by Stephen Wall’s “Annotated English Novels?” (Essays in Criticism 32:1 [1982]: 1-8), which notes the importance of historical annotation to aid reading in the novels of Dickens, Brontë, and Austen. Wall’s essay, for he writes as a journal editor holding forth, is not very useful in terms of practical advice.
  • A. C. Hamilton’s “The Philosophy of the Footnote” (Editing Poetry from Spenser to Dryden. New York: Garland, 1981. 127-163) begins by describing a class incident, when while reading Thomas Campion’s “When thou must home to shades of under ground,” a student inquired about Iope. Upon trying to answer the question, Hamilton found that current scholarship had either ignored or bungled up that identification and that the usual practice of annotators was “building on one’s predecessors, adding the thickness of one more coral to the coral-reef that fringes the poem” (130). After 3 pages summarizing the incompetence of other scholars, he shows that author Campion almost certainly paired Iope (Calliope) with Helen because former too had boasted of her beauty and contributed to widespread destruction and, in Iope’s case, sacrifice of her daughter (132). Hamilton cites George Watson, who, following Samuel Johnson, recommends three tasks for annotators: “first, to explain linguistic difficulties, whether verbal or syntactical; secondly, to explain social, historical, and especially classical allusions; and thirdly, to unravel and expose complexities and errors in the text itself” (132). And Hamilton adds a fourth, identifying literary sources, although he concludes ruefully that Campion’s poem had apparently been enjoyed by two generations of scholarly readers who were quite unaware of what Iope meant. The bulk of his essay proceeds to show that all four of these ways of understanding the task of annotating are “based on inadequate critical assumptions about the nature of poetry and the act of reading” (133). Hamilton works his way through a number of tricky passages in early English poetry and drama, including whether mandrakes grow or groane in Donne, Althaea in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, 2 Henry VI, and Henry V, the idea that Shakespeare confuses Thetis and Tethys in Antony and Cleopatra, the first line of Spenser’s Faerie Queene, Milton’s “stupidly good” in Paradise Lost, book IX, November in Spenser’s Shepheardes Calendar, a passage from Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella, and various others in passing. Hamilton proves himself a formidable scholar–though this essay shades into show-offy while claiming to ask gentle questions about the foolish annotations of an editor. It has a nice rhetorical move at the end, to suggest that what he finally says has been implied all along, as follows:

    Any “philosophy of the footnote” that I would endorse in conclusion is implicit in my earlier remarks. Annotators need to become aware of the critical assumptions that determine what they choose to gloss, and then choose to say or not say. Only a very little critical sophistication would abort the all-to-usual compiling of miscellaneous information in which anything goes if only it seems somehow relevant or sufficiently learned. No facts shoudl be brought to a poem–historical, background, identifications of allusions, or ideas–without demonstrating their direct relevance to the reader’s understanding of the text” (159).

    All in all, Hamilton’s advice is that one should be sensitive and do the work thinkingly rather than by rote, such as, hey, this a biblical allusion, hey, this to Paradise Lost, etc. As a whole, it’s cautionary rather than advisory. An annotator’s task is nearly futile, as another scholarly reader will almost certainly be able to point out one’s oversights and incompetence. Maybe that’s why many textual critics avoid treading in the thickets of annotation.

  • James Woolley’s “Annotation: Some Guiding Considerations” (East-Central Intelligencer 8.1 [1994]: 11–16) is the most useful essay on what merits annotation. He has ten recommendations, which I will summarize in short phrases and quotations (and follow with examples from Uncle Tom’s Cabin): 1) what types of readers did it have in original publication? 2) can a recognition of nuance of meaning be provided by annotation? 3) for “persons, places, actions, events, allusions,” etc., were they recognized by initial readers, and why or why not? 4) sources and (if in another language) likely sources of exegesis or commentary? 5) dates both of “items annotated and evidence adduced”? 6) accuracy and authority of text for “factual claims”? 7) figurative language and politically sensitive or inflammatory language, including blanks and dashed words, and if blanked or obscured, why? 8) author’s consistency with self elsewhere? 9) place of text being annotated in larger discussion or controversy during era? 10) If content of note not previously known, why not? If repeating known, why needed? Woolley’s is perhaps the most complete set of advice ever written, but two more not included in list seem worthy of including, which would raise number of suggestions to 12: On tone, avoid “specious certitude” (13); and for text that reports variants (scholarly edition), annotate variant readings as necessary. Now, the answers or examples from Uncle Tom’s Cabin: 1) moderate anti-slavery readers, who might pause at being called abolitionists, probably supported defunct Free-Soil, mostly resident in northeast and midwest; 2) word “professor,” which Ophelia uses to describe St. Clare, would probably benefit from being annotated as one who professes a religious doctrine (i.e., not an academic); 3) Whitney’s cotton-gin or a Daguerreotype, both celebrated inventions in Stowe’s day, lacking resonance as celebrated achievements for today’s readers; 4) St. Clare’s Latin hymn, probably derived from Goethe’s use of same in Faust (which Stowe read); 5) likely Joel Parker quote source, an 1840s series of newspaper articles that implicitly justified slavery on patriarchal authority over household; 6) Pope Pius IX and Kossuth as recognizable symbols of European revolutions, which liberal northerners saw as progress toward democracy; 7) phrases like “constitutional relations”; 8) elaborations in Stowe’s Key, such as sources in Josiah Henson and Lewis G. Clarke, and praise for Topsy-ish childhood in Oldtown Folks 9) work with longer reviews, mostly, I think, though something have not thought through; 10) plan to do repeating, as scholarly and authoritative edition. Woolley gives useful weasel words also. Finally, annotations for variants would include matters like “North” and “South” versus “north” and “south”; Tom’s New Testament or Bible and Protestant martyr John Rogers (in Era only) and “bilious” instead of “brilliant” to describe scriptural prints. John Rogers and Testament, for example, is connected to reading materials allowed to Shelby slaves, a major matter in revision.
  • Deborah Carlin’s explanatory notes in the Broadview edition of Sarah Orne Jewett’s Country of the Pointed Firs (2010). The annotations are very informative for a text that during first reading I could scarcely detect a need for annotation. I had read Jewett’s novel previously in a Modernist-inspired clear reading text of the Library of America. Carlin’s annotation opens up social and political contexts that were unavailable to me previously. Because late 19th century is my area of research specialty (took a comprehensive exam in American literature from 1850-1950), I have quibbles, but my initial impression, that Carlin’s annotation revealed that the smooth surface of Jewett’s prose relies on a heady framework of late 19th century feminist thought, which most readers will miss. Some notes fill a quarter of the page, but scholarly readers will enjoy them. If you don’t know the medicinal uses of pennyroyal and blue cohosh, you’re missing the point of the novel (43 n 1; 47; n 1). I have assigned this edition, and it is the only assigned text that has prompted a student who had selected an alternate edition to lament aloud that choice. My one reservation is that Carlin neglects to cite her sources for broader cultural information. I have no doubt that publishers prefer not to have such citations, but editors of authoritative scholarly editions need to push back.
  • My own annotation to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman’s “walter dear”: the Letters of Louisa Van Velsor Whitman (2013). Well, yes, this one is not like the other ones, but preparing a set of annotation did more than anything to refine my thinking about the purpose of annotation. I was influenced by Walt Whitman Archive practice, of course, especially the notes that derive from Kenneth Price and Dennis Berthold’s Dear Brother Walt, but I tried to kick it up a notch in “walter dear” to aid understanding of Mother Whitman’s letters, i.e., explaining some things that may not seem like they need annotation. She wrote for Walt’s eyes only, and he of course understood all the glancing references, which today’s reader can only retrieve with research or editorial annotation. Over time, I became more comfortable that I knew things that other readers would note (i.e., discarding old graduate school habits of tentativeness), because I realized that the immense amount of time and effort that I spent trying to figure stuff was not going to be repeated until another editor took up the same task. So, yes, 50 or 100 years from now a serious scholar may return to this and identify many faults, but the next 5 or 6 Whitman biographers will just have to put up with my annotation. I was very pleased that another reader, Sherry Ceniza, appreciated my obsessiveness: “Raabe’s annotations, in a way, form a second essay; they provide valuable historical, political, cultural, medicinal, and scientific information. As a Brooklyn resident, I delighted in all of the Brooklyn references and links, as well as information about and links to many periodicals.” (see Ceniza’s review). I assume that anyone who goes to the trouble of selecting a scholarly edition values the insights that can be gained from annotation. Textual work does not obviate the need.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin Annotation:
I was going to put this here, but it will take a bit longer. So I am writing another post.

Allusion and Fluid Text

  • Gregory Machacek’s “Allusion” (PMLA 122.2 [2007], 522-536) struck me upon its release as one of the first truly innovative treatments of allusion, which I think should influence our thinking about annotation. He carefully sorts out the confusions that arise because postmodernist criticism came to prefer the term intertextuality as a kind of alternate (and more capacious) term than allusion. The former is commended for allowing a richer texture of reference. For Jules Kristeva, who coined it, it refers to the “semiotic principles and presuppositions that lie, as it were, between texts from a given culture and allow them to have what meaning they do” (523). In fact, intertextuality, according to Jonathon Culler, was “designed to ‘transcend’ that of allusion” (Culler 109). But the world being the world, and criticism being criticism, intertextuality came to be used as the more fancy modern version of allusion, though Machacek insists on a distinction: “The broad distinction is between approaches that study the text diachronically, in connection with earlier works of literature, and those that examine the text synchronically, in connection with a contemporaneous semiotic field made up of literary and nonliterary texts” (524). (Given what Friedman and Battestin said above, it’s not as if annotating editors were unaware of the distinction. As an editor, I would insist that annotation is the place for the negotiation between diachronic and synchronic examinations, that is, it’s where the rubber meets the road.) But, to continue, Machecek offers the following general definition of his subject: “The type of diachronic intertextuality under consideration in this essay—a textual snippet reminiscent of a phrase in an earlier author’s writing but smoothly incorporated into the new context of the imitating author’s work—is distinguishable primarily by being brief, discrete, and local and evoking a single text that the culture of the alluding writer associates with an identifiable earlier author.” (525). I’m rather surprised that the PMLA editors allowed “identifiable earlier author” to stand, as a culturally significant text may lack author authority—but let that pass too. Instead of the terms allusion and verbal echo—the former “too broad” because it includes both “learned or indirect reference and phraseological appropriation”; the latter “too narrow … if it suggests that the prior text can be evoked only through a verbatim repetition of its phraseology”—Machacek proposes spur and reprise (527; 528). (I abbreviate Machacek’s thorough treatment, which surveys and examines numerous alternative formulations for describing elements of intertextual allusiveness.) Here’s the gist of Machacek’s suggestion: “I propose that when it would be useful to distinguish the phase that recalls from the phrase that is recalled, we speak of the echo as the reprise and the initial version as the spur” (529). Why this matters, and how it may be treated in editorial annotation, is discussed below.
  • In The Fluid Text (2002), John Bryant offers a theory of editorial revision, in which he argue that conventional scholarly apparatus is not up to the task of informing readers about authorial revision and the consequences of such revisions. Therefore, “editors must become narrators of revision; that is, they must convert the bewildering array of data in their encoded textual apparatus into pleasurable revision narratives” (144). This call, for editors to narrate revision rather than build a conventional apparatus, has significant consequences for the matter of choosing a base text. The base text, which serves as a scaffold on which to hang the editorial apparatus, must often be the most extended version of a text, the manuscript before the cuts, the uncensored American printing, etc. But in the case of annotation for allusion, choosing a base text is no longer as significant. Fluid text revision narratives could become an informative means to annotate allusions and clarify their significance. In other words, to use Machacek’s suggestion, the reprise, because it is the author’s text, will of course still appear as the text. But in the apparatus, the version to which the author alluded, the spur, is presented first, and the echo, the reprise (in the text) follows as part of the apparatus. That is, an editorial annotation of an allusion should include the verbal form of the source text, and the verbal form of the reading text. In other words, treat allusion as a revision sequence. Consider, for example, the following description about what a revision narrative should do:

    In assessing the mechanics, agents, phases, direction, and modes of revisions, the editor will inevitably speculate upon the strategies that dictate revision. A revision strategy may involve the micromanipulation of words for stylistic ends or the broader modal reconceptualizing of the social and rhetorical impact of the words that may be evidence of inferred versions. Thus, the editor will naturally use the revision narrative as an opportunity to distinguish tactical phases of revision from strategic phases of composition. As such, each narrative tells a story of a revision and initiates discourse about that story. (160)

    I admit that one is far more likely to have “evidence of inferred versions” when the surviving materials include the author’s annotation of her reading, the initial and revised manuscript drafts, and an initial printing, but the style of narrative that Bryant suggests, “relate the events in an intelligible, pragmatically pleasurable way” (159) seems well adapted to allusion as well.

I’m going to stop here, but I have spent a bit of time thinking about complex allusive passages in Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, including Sam’s “evident and eminent” and Stowe’s strategic misquotation of a passage from Horace Mann’s Slavery: Letters and Speeches. If you are intrepid enough to read all the way to here, I’d appreciate any suggestions in comments.

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