I'm Agreeing with Darnton

| | Comments (0)

"Bibliography has not disappeared, but it has been pushed aside and ignored by more recent trends in literary scholarship" (135).

--From Chapter 9, "The Importance of Bing Bibliographical" in Robert Darnton's The Case for Books

I thought this chapter was really interesting because even in Literary Criticism, we did not really discuss this type of criticism.  When dealing with text however, especially older texts, it makes a lot of sense to compare various editions of the same work.  In one of last week's classes, I wondered what the Italian version of Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler would say when he discussed the "tu" form of you.  Dr. Jerz mentioned in class that Calvino may have included such a discussion because he is aware of his international audience, but it would be nice to know Italian so that I could take a look at this.  This one word may change the entire meaning of the passage for Italian readers as compared to American readers, something that Darnton is pointing out in this chapter. 

Although I can see how and why this form of criticism was "pushed aside," I think that in many cases it can still be very valuable.  Many of the new forms of criticism focus on a return to examining the actual text instead of looking at the reader's response or what historical analysis has to say about the text.  I think that this form does the same thing in a way that the newer forms do not.  By examining multiple copies of the same text, one can decide which is most accurate and then use other forms of criticism from there.  I think that we could still benefit from such a viewpoint today, even with increased accuracy that the Internet allows for, because, although it may allow for more accuracy, it does not guarantee it. 

 

See what others have to say about Darnton's chapter.  

 

Leave a comment


Type the characters you see in the picture above.