The Textual Condition
Jerome J. McGann
Over the past decade literary critic and editor Jerome McGann has developed a theory of textuality based in writing and production rather than in reading and interpretation. These new essays extend his investigations of the instability of the physical text. McGann shows how every text enters the world under socio-historical conditions that set the stage for a ceaseless process of textual development and mutation. Arguing that textuality is a matter of inscription and articulation, he explores texts as material and social phenomena, as particular kinds of acts. McGann links his study to contextual and institutional studies of literary works as they are generated over time by authors, editors, typographers, book designers, marketing planners, and other publishing agents. This enables him to examine issues of textual stability and instability in the arenas of textual production and reproduction. Drawing on literary examples from the past two centuries--including works by Byron, Blake, Morris, Yeats, Joyce, and especially Pound--McGann applies his theory to key problems facing anyone who studies texts and textuality.