Traditionally, the end objective of textual criticism is to examine the extant manuscripts of a literary tradition with the purpose
of reconstructing the most ancient version of the text possible. Consequently, once such a text is established and variants provided through a critical apparatus, little remains to be done by the textual critic. Once he has dealt with the chores of “lower” textual criticism, the result of his work will be handed to the literary critic, who will then perform the noble task of “higher” criticism. As Walter Gabler says: Not altogether unlike a car assembled in the factory and then sold to an owner left to explore and utilize all its built-in capacity, a text was constructed in the editor’s workshop and handed to the critic who, expected to accept it as definitive (and himself expecting to take it as such), was left to perform on it his criticism (1990: 153).
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