Abstract

Paolo Monella, Omero a forma di albero. Una prospettiva post-apocalittica

The concept of text in the western cultural tradition has undergone a number of 'textual revolutions': from Homer's orality to the library of Alexandria, then from handwriting to Gutenberg's print, eventually from print to the digital text. Each of these revolutions had impressed its 'shape', its format, to the very idea of text. What shape are we impressing on our electronic texts in this early stage of the digital textual revolution? 1. XML-TEI is imposing a tree-shaped format to texts that are not hierarchical by nature. 2. Unicode, fundamentally based on the discrete, linear model of western alphabets in the print age, is forcing non-western writing systems into an 'alphabet-shaped' model. 3. Emerging protocols like Canonical Text Services (e.g. the CTS URN) risk to 'freeze' textual corpora (such as the classical Greek and Latin literatures) into 'canonical' versions that will become de facto 'the' version of those textual traditions for future generations of scholars, readers and above all for future CTS-based digital tools such as essays in intertextual digital format, encyclopedias and other reference works, school anthologies etc.

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