Peter Kruschwitz - Ne cum poeta scriptura evanesceret. Exploring the protohistory of Terence’s dramatic scripts
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Ne cum poeta scriptura evanesceret. Exploring the protohistory of Terence’s dramatic scripts*
1. Some Initial Considerations
The very concept of the ‘protohistory of a text’, stricto sensu, has the potential to create a challenging intellectual paradox: how can one go about retrieving, arranging, and analysing the evidence for a text (or a collection of texts) that pre-dates the evidence for the same text’s existence? Certainly, one can easily think of cases in which there is no such paradox at all: for example, authors may announce their plans to write a certain text in letters or their diaries (even though one ought to be careful as regards the truthfulness of such claims)1. In other cases, the existence of an autograph may be revealing with a view on the processes that led to the completion of a given work. Then there are instances in which texts exist in a revised edition, and the use of an earlier edition, if available, may be instructive in terms of an author’s intentions and aesthetic considerations2. As far as the ancient world is concerned, however, such cases are not the majority: in fact, they are quite exceptional, and that is where the paradox begins.
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