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Durham University

Department of English Studies


Academic Staff

Publication details for Professor Claire Warwick

Warwick, C. (2001). 'Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated': Scholarly editing in the digital age. In New Media and the Humanities: Research and Applications - Proceedings of the First Seminar "Computers, Literature and Philology", Edinburgh 7-9 September 1998. Fiormonte, D. & Usher, J. Oxford, UK: Humanities Computing Unit. 55-62.

Author(s) from Durham


Some scholars still doubt that the electronic text has much of a role in humanities, and
particularly literary scholarship, when it is compared to the printed book. They fear that that
the use of computers blows away all else in its path, leaving nothing standing that we might
recognise. Others are enthusiastic about the possibility of the new medium to hold
unprecedented amounts of information, and are willing to admire the hard work and
scholarship of those who create such textual resources, but they are worried about the ways in
which their work, and scholarly methods may be affected by this. Those of us who work in
this new medium of electric editing rather anxiously release the products of our effort into the
scholarly world, unsure about how well it will be regarded, and indeed how long it may last.
What we can all agree on is that the electronic text should at least lead to some literary
defamiliarisation, which in turn should make us to wonder about the future of our discipline.
What will happen to the text in the future? What control does the author have over the
reception of the text? Where does it fit into the scholarly community? Will it be preserved for
posterity? How much information can the current technological medium cope with? Most
profoundly it causes us to question whether the discipline will continue to exist, and whether
there is any future for the textual editor in an age of electronic text.

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