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.
This project has two major aims. First, processing and giving internet access to a representative compilation of literary archive funds (writers of the 19th and 20th century). Second, establishing a department which will continuously carry out and publish digitalised copies of important archives. This department aimed to closely cooperate with a specialised textologic team and on the basis of a newly developed communication platform and procedures proved during the creation of the project will guarantee a continuous supply of support materials in order to ensure preparation of volumes of the Critical hybride edition. Apart from giving access to an important part of unique cultural values to wide public interested in them (especially through websites www.badatelna.eu and www.esbirky.cz), the project will also considerably enhance scientific editorial preparation of the key literary texts and collections. Before the process of digitalisation of each archive item, its state will be examined. Damaged items or parts of collections will be put into programmes focusing on treatments such as deacification or restoration of the paper materials. One of the key outputs of the project will be a certified set of procedures regulating classification and description of archives of the Czech literature of the given period. It will also give an insight to the process of preparation of the sources necessary to give editorial access to the priority parts of archives (mainly correspondence and manuscripts). A new software will be developed as a part of the project in order to enable a mutual communication and exchange of data between the archiving and textological departments. Another software application will deal with the process of preparation of critical electronic editions. There will be completed within the project two editions of this kind and four scientific research articles covering the up-to-date state of the topic and continuously presenting results of the project.
The objective is to create a new critical edition of Karel Hynek Mácha´s poem Máj, a key work in modern Czech literature, as part of the Hybrid Scholarly Edition series (i.e. a reader’s book edition + a scholarly electronic edition) and to improve the methodology for this series. This is based on examination of the history of the poem’s text, primarily the manuscript of Máj, which the last critical edition (in 1959) did not undertake, as it was based on an old facsimile. The manuscript needs to undergo paleographic analysis for the crossed-out text to be deciphered, for the origins and purpose of the text to be determined, and for editological relevance of the manuscript to be considered. Commentaries and separate studies will provide fresh information on the so-called Náčrt Máje (Draught of Máj), Mácha’s language, Prague publishing practice at that time and the editorial history of Mácha’s text, carrying on an interrupted research line that is of fundamental importance for the development of Czech textology. The electronic edition will include complete editorial documentation.
The proposed project is oriented to problems of method in editorial work. The topics that will be considered include the attributing of works to a given period or authorship, imprimatur and censorship, choice of primary text, editorial practice, types of edition, all in connection with conceptions, as represented by the manuals Editor a text (1971) and Textologie (1993), with of course the changed perspective after developments in thinking about textual criticism in the Czech Republic and also in contact with the concept of genetic criticism and theories that consider the social functions of the text. The subject of analysis will be the material of P. Bezruč’s Songs of Silesia, chosen for the demands it places on textual criticism and the opportunity to juxtapose it with the approaches of the chief representatives of the Czech tradition of scholarly editing. The result of the project will be a well-arranged monograph, proposing a system of coherent approaches to editing and putting awareness of the interdependence of the proposed concepts into the wider field of literary theory.
Collective Critical Edition of the Work of František Gellner and Karel Hlaváček
The aim of this project (ASCR Grant Agency, 2007–2009) is to create a hybrid, i.e. digital and book, edition of the collective work of František Gellner and Karel Hlaváček. Work on this grant project will involve the development and testing of software for the material, comprising two sets of work dealt with in parallel, which will be utilized for future collective hybrid edition volumes. This combination of a traditional book medium and DVD will resolve a key editorial issue, i.e. the tension between a reader’s edition and a scholarly edition. The book will present each author in a version that is critically edited for the reader’s benefit, with an extensive selection from his entire work. In contrast, the data medium will present the entire text corpus of each author’s work, from manuscript drafts to all the manuscript and typewritten versions, substantial transcripts not by the author, copies from journals, collections of papers and almanacs, all book editions during the author’s life and texts from posthumously published editions, which from the textological standpoint involve considerable editorial work. Emphasis will be placed on providing and presenting the most extensive possible collection of manuscripts in facsimile form (in collaboration with the Museum of National Literature Literary Archive in Prague). In addition to original artistic work the DVD will also include accompanying material involving correspondence relating to the author’s life and work. An integral part will also be the bibliographical lists and the selection from secondary specialist literature (focusing on reception at the time). At the same time the DVD will map out the extensive (particularly drawn and graphic) artistic work of both authors. The computer presentation will allow for a quite different approach, particularly with regard to the issue of text versions and their various readings. The electronic version will also facilitate broad usage of hypertext (and index) links and structured search types.
The collective hybrid edition will continue with a third and fourth volume, presenting critical editions of Silesian Songs by Petr Bezruč and Garland by Karel Jaromír Erben, which are now at the first stage of editorial work.
The Department was established on 1st April 1998, when it was awarded a three-year grant by the Czech Ministry of Culture to create the Czech Electronic Library Full-text Database of 19th Century Czech Poetry from the Thám School to the Lumír School. As of 1st January 2001, the working group was then awarded another grant, again by the Czech Ministry of Culture, this time for four years, to extend and complete the assignment. As of 1.7.2004 it then received a grant from the Czech Ministry of Education for its project entitled Czech Electronic Library – Poets Debuting between 1900 and 1918. The output of the first grant assignment (600 poetry collections) was published by the ASCR Institute for Czech Literature under the subtitle “from the Thám School to the Lumír School” in 2002 in CD-ROM format. The second output of the full-text database entitled Czech Electronic Library – 19th Century Poetry (1200 poetry collections), which linked up the supplemented and updated texts brought out on the CD-ROM with new work, was published online. The output of the third grant assignment was incorporated on an ongoing basis into the existing online full-text database with the definitive title: Czech Electronic Library – 19th and Early 20th Century Poetry. Almost twelve years of work on the assignment came to an end in December 2007. The database of Czech poetry contains 1,700 books of poetry published over 150 years and available free of charge to those interested at: www.ceska-poezie.cz.
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.