A comparative study of the manuscripts and early printed editions of the Cretan tragedy Erofili and its interludes
In this dissertation, I investigate the textual tradition of the Cretan tragedy Erofili by Georgios Chortatsis (16th century). The play, accompanied by a set of four Interludes, has survived in three manuscripts and two editions, all originating from the 17th century. All the witnesses are examined and presented thoroughly, both as autonomous texts and in comparison to each other. The examination of each witness separately sheds light not only on the history of the transmission of Erofili, but also to the production of manuscripts and printed books in Crete, the Heptanese and Venice in general. As far as the condition of the text is concerned, three witnesses preserve the most reliable texts: the second edition and the two manuscripts originating from Crete. The investigation of their relationship shows that two groups can be identified: one includes the two Cretan manuscripts and another one the three other witnesses. Νo important alterations in the plot and the sequence of events are found, so the textual variation concerns mainly the phrasing. There are indications that variation among the witnesses might have resulted from revisions by the playwright himself. The evaluation of the two groups of witnesses shows that it is not possible to consider one of them as superior, and this leads to the question which would be the most appropriate editorial method. Previous editors have followed the eclectic approach, which has many positive aspects, but cannot help the readers to realize all the stages of the transmission of the play. Since various theoretical approaches have appeared during the last decades, it has been understood that no edition can be called “definitive” and that editions following different methods can address different questions and achieve different aims. Erofili, and other texts with a rich and complicated textual tradition, can be edited in various ways and each edition can offer new insight in the history of the production, transmission and reception of the work.