Theory and Practice in Middle English Editing
The defects of the traditional critical edition based on rescension are obvious, as Kane and others have pointed out; but the “eclectic” or “direct-method” edition, e.g., the Athlone edition of PPl, often makes unwarranted claims for the authority of the text produced and for the authority of the editor. The critical edition is incapable of dealing with texts for which each act of copying was largely an act of recomposition; even with a text by a single, known author, traces of revision and authorial variants are often obscured or misrepresented. As opposed to oral performance narratives, which imply intrinsic textual mobility (mouvance), the works of self-conscious authors demand consideration of recoverable authorial intention, conscious or unconscious, in the editing process.
Text 7 (1994): 107-26.