Trying to be Diplomatic: Editing The Humorous Magistrate

  • Margaret Jane Kidnie University of Western Ontario
Keywords: manuscript, editing, textual practices,


This essay reflects on the resistances manuscripts present to diplomatic editorial procedure. Taking as its example the Arbury text of The Humorous Magistrate, it analyses the interpretive restrictions imposed by the transfer from manuscript to print, especially when working with documents that show extensive correction and amendation. The editor is forced to choose between introducing to the print edition ambiguities that are not features of the manuscript, or shaping the reading experience in light of one’s critical interpretation of the manuscript evidence. 'Accuracy' is thus less an absolute criteria one meets, than a subjective set of procedures one defines for the purposes at hand.