This department focuses on the history of, and current issues in, textology and publishing practice. In addition to its own publishing activities, the department develops methodologies for studying the publication of modern Czech literary texts, with special emphasis on the use of digital technologies (the first project undertaken by the department was the Czech Electronic Library).
Since 2007, the department has primarily focused on long-term publishing projects, with the aim of applying conceptual and digital tools to the creation of scholarly critical editions of works by modern Czech authors within the book series Critical Hybrid Edition. These include print and digital editions of works by Petr Bezruč, Karel Jaromír Erben, František Gellner, Karel Hlaváček, Karel Hynek Mácha, and Karel Toman.
Starting in 2016, members of the department have also played a significant role in the development of the Czech Library series, which aims at the general reading public. Working within the auspices of the department, the Research Team for the Study of Jakub Deml’s Correspondence works in the field of epistolography. Alongside its publishing activities, the department engages critically with theoretical issues concerning the past and present of textology and publishing practice. In addition to publishing partial studies, the department works on questions concerning methodology in the Variants book series.
The department also organises annual Textological Colloquia, which provide a platform for discussions by Czech researcher-editors. Members of the department simultaneously carry out individual research projects and collaborate with teams from other departments of the ICL, working independently and over long periods with leading universities in the Czech Republic, in particular the Faculty of Arts, Charles University and Czech Technical University in Prague.
Department activities also include the management of ICL publishing activities.
The Varianty series aims to provide access to texts by textologists and editors both at home and abroad, both contemporary and classics in the field. These volumes are conceived as selections or sets of works by individuals working both here and abroad. The series will provide a chrestomathy of individual current issues in textological discourse, reviews of the current situation in the field in various linguistic areas and practical examples of new editing and textological solutions (experimental series).
Published to date:
Department members run the Edice E website, which in digital image format presents both new publications not brought out as books (especially collections of papers) and more recent publications (e.g. the four-volume anthology From the History of Czech Thought on Literature). At the same time Edice E provides access to key publications (compendia, anthologies, collections of papers, reference works, series and so forth) that have been brought out over the Institute’s sixty-plus years of existence, e.g.: Dějiny české literatury (History of Czech Literature) 1–4, Avantgarda známá a neznámá (Known and Unknown Avant-garde) 1–3, Soubor díla F. X. Šaldy (The Collected Works of F. X. Šalda) (21 volumes), Jak číst poezii (How to Read Poetry) and Slovník básnických knih (Dictionary of Poetic Works). The series also includes difficult-to-find samizdat collections published to mark the life anniversaries of prominent Institute staff (e.g. M. Červenka, R. Havel, M. Jankovič and Z. Pešat).
As of 2009, when the first annual textological colloquium took place at the Institute on 19th November under the title of Issues in Current Editorial Practice, the Department is to arrange a meeting of specialists and enthusiasts every year to discuss the issues surrounding the presentation of text and special textological questions.
Departmental staff have taken part and continue to take part in university tuition at the Charles University Faculty of Arts Institute for Czech Literature and Literary Studies and the Czech Studies Department of the Pedagogical Faculty at Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem.