Thursday, July 1, 2010

Geneva Iliad to provide exciting challenges for HMT

I had the opportunity to visit the Genavensis 44 manuscript of the Iliad last week during my trip to Switzerland for the E-codices workshop. The manuscript is undergoing an extensive restoration and has been completely unbound. I was able to see that the manuscript is indeed in need of extensive restoration, and I learned a great deal about the manuscript by seeing it in person. For example, although I knew that there is an interlinear paraphrase that runs through approximately the first half of the poem, I was not aware that this paraphrase is of the same size and same hand as the main text. It raises the question, for me at least, as to how to characterize this text from the point of view of transcription and identification of text groups. Line numbers are of course modern editorial additions, but when we transcribe this document we will have to make some choices about what to put where. I assume we will separate out the paraphrase from the text of the poem, but having access to the images of the manuscript itself will allow users of this transcription to appreciate that the paraphrase was originally written to be an organic part of the reading of this manuscript. When we separate it out, we lose something of that experience.

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