To a reader of Joyce's Ulysses
, it makes a difference whether one of Stephen Dedalus's first thoughts is "No mother" (as in the printed version) or "No, mother!" (as in the manuscript). The scholarship surrounding such textual differences--and why this discipline should concern readers and literary scholars alike--is the focus of William Proctor Williams and Craig S. Abbott's acclaimed handbook.
This updated, fourth edition outlines the study of texts' composition, revision, physical embodiments, process of transmission, and manner of reception; describes how new technologies such as digital imaging and electronic tagging have changed the way we produce, read, preserve, and research texts; discusses why these matters are central to a historical understanding of literature; and shows how the insights, methods, and products of bibliographical and textual studies can be applied to other branches of scholarship.