Cutting edge development for the field of digital editing

The larger part of the literary estate of the Austrian modernist writer, Arthur Schnitzler, is held in Cambridge University Library, having been saved by a Cambridge student from probable destruction in Vienna in 1938.  Eighty years later, the UK editorial team for the new digital critical edition, Arthur Schnitzler digital, is pleased to announce its inaugural release. The first substantial module for Marionetten (1906), Schnitzler’s cycle of one-act dramas on variations of puppetry, includes facsimiles and annotated transcriptions of the archival material, genetic accounts of the compositional history, along with a definitive text and substantial critical commentary.

Lead editor for Marionetten, Dr Annja Neumann, said: ‘Schnitzler’s trio of human puppet-plays positions key developments in European theatre around 1900 centre-stage. The most substantial play, Zum großen Wurstel (The Grand Guignol), anticipates Bertolt Brecht’s alienation effects and Eugène Ionesco’s theatre of the absurd. At the same time, it connects with the realities of digital and post-human enhancement today, in that it radically questions the boundaries between human agency and animated marionettes or machines. The numerous drafts and versions of the play demonstrate Schnitzler’s deeply self-reflective creative process, providing a rich test case for genetically informed digital editing.’

The UK team, funded by the AHRC, with additional support from the MHRA and the Cambridge Schröder Fund, is editing a number of texts from Schnitzler’s middle period, with Marionetten to be followed by the major dramas, Professor Bernhardi and Das weite Land (known through Tom Stoppard’s adaptation as Undiscovered Country). The first module for the edition of Schnitzler’s classic experimental novella, Fraulein Else, edited by project partners from the University of Wuppertal, working on the author’s later works, has also just appeared. Arthur Schnitzler digital uses innovative edition software developed at the University of Trier to provide a clear and dynamic interface for scholars and general readers interested in the fascinating genetic developments of Schnitzler’s narratives and dramas.



Professor Andrew J. Webber, Principal Investigator for the UK project and Co-Director, Cambridge Digital Humanities Research, said: ‘The edition, to be hosted as an open access resource by the University Library, and supplemented by an exciting range of digital resources, not only promises a wider and deeper understanding of this important writer and his works but also represents a cutting-edge development for the field of digital editing.’ The first releases can be accessed at:

Arthur Schnitzler digital is an AHRC funded project

  • Posted 6 Sep 2018

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