The cooperative research project, Arthur Schnitzler digital. Digital Critical Edition (Works from 1905 to 1931), is being conducted by scholars at the Bergische University Wuppertal, the University of Cambridge, University College London and the University of Bristol, in partnership with Cambridge University Library, the German Literary Archive at Marbach, the Arthur-Schnitzler-Archive Freiburg, and the Center for Digital Humanities at the University of Trier. The German team, which began its work in January 2012 and is supported by the Union of Academies, is editing texts from 1914 onwards; the British team, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), began its work in January 2014 and is editing texts from the period between 1905 and 1913.
The aim of the project is to produce a new critical edition in digital form, to be published on an open access online platform hosted by Cambridge University Library. In contrast to those of other representative figures of the classical Modernist period, the works of the great Austrian writer, Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931), have until now not been made available in a scholarly edition. Historical critical editions of works from the early period (up to 1904) have begun to be produced in print and e-book form by a team based in Vienna, supported by the FWF (de Gruyter 2011ff.), while our project exploits the potential of digital methods for its editions of works from 1905 onwards. The project draws upon the enormous store of archival material, saved in 1938 and transferred to Cambridge University Library, which still holds the larger part of the literary estate (a smaller collection is housed at Marbach, with individual holdings elsewhere). Our research will provide insights into Schnitzler’s working methods and the aesthetic principles that guided them. This will shed new light on an author whose rich and varied oeuvre helped to define the whole period of classical Modernism (c. 1890-1930), with a highly developed sensitivity to its problems and contradictions.
The online portal will for the first time draw together the physically dispersed archival holdings in a virtual form, combining the functions of digital archive and edition. The collected extant material – both manuscript and typescript – will be digitally reproduced, transcribed, and made accessible through commentaries, registers etc. Through different textual views (diplomatic transcriptions, genetically interpreted reconstructions, amended reading versions) a multi-perspectival edition will be produced, with due regard to both ‘textuality’ and ‘materiality’. Beyond this, the digital medium will open up the possibility of representing in an appropriate manner the rich picture of Schnitzler’s mode of writing. With its hypertextual structures and resources for non-sequential ordering, the digital edition will capture the systemic interdependence of composition processes that sometimes stretched over decades, with complex networks of transmission crossing textual and generic boundaries.