Out of Sorts: On Typography and Print Culture
This book, which is devoted to various aspects of book production, contains a chapter evaluating the work of the PPl Electronic Archive, whose style sheets contain the implied and stated presuppositions governing the various transcriptions of PPl MSS made by the Archive’s editors. These style sheets occasionally conflate the editors’ principles of transcription with the nature of a MS and the circumstances of its production. There is a ‘Template’ for the description of style sheets (Diplomatic, Critical, Scribal, AllTags) but there are ‘variants in all the disks I have examined’ (pp. 123-24): the different types of sheet are discussed in different orders, the phrase ‘putative, reconstructed text’ is used inconsistently, and the precise function of each style sheet remains unclear. In conclusion Dane criticizes the style sheets for ultimately leading (should editorial promise be kept) to a new edition of Piers Plowman which ‘will be as wonderfully flimsy as Skeats’s’ (p. 135).