To do justice to the patrticularities of Hannah Arendt’s wide-ranging and diverse work, the Critical Edition is conceived as a hybrid edition (print and digital). This type of edition realizes the full potential of each medium by establishing systematic interconnections between them.
The hybrid edition creates for the first time a comprehensive environment for the study of Hannah Arendt’s work, in which the totality of her texts can be extensively explored, used, and analyzed in various formats. This means not only that the digital publication of the edition goes far beyond simply presenting texts in pdf or e-book form, but also that the edition has been fundamentally conceived from a digital standpoint.
All philologically relevant information is encoded in the digital documents: for example, struck-through text, erasures, overwriting, insertions, etc. This information, essential for critical study, is directly visible to the user of the webportal in the form of markup on the diplomatic transcriptions, and need not be reconstructed in a roundabout way from a text-critical apparatus, as is the case with traditional historical-critical editions.
At the same time, the texts presented in the printed books, constituted through the edition’s philological work and outfitted with a critical commentary, offer versions for reading with a solid scholarly basis. Future critical reading and scientific study will still take place via the medium of the book: even in the digital age, print editions are the most stable and lasting medium for text transmission; moreover, personal copies, with their annotations, marginalia, dog-eared pages, and associated ephemera, are indispensable research tools. Thus, the edition publishes in book form those texts that ask to be read, so to speak, with pencil in hand: all works authorized by Arendt, including in multiple published and unpublished versions, with detailed subject and name indices, philological, historical, and biographical commentaries, and extended editorial afterwords.
The webportal, developed in parallel, picks up where the print books leave off: in addition to all the texts from the print versions, extensively enriched with metadata, it offers facsimiles, diplomatic transcriptions and XML/TEI documents of each text, as well as text variants. (Texts with significant edits or reworkings are termed versions, while variants refer to texts that have been minimally shortened or changed only slightly.)
All texts are made available in accordance with current standards of quality assurance and handling of editions in the digital age as they have been formulated in the German-speaking world by, among others, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für gemanistische Editionen, the Institut für Dokumentologie und Editorik, and ultimately by the DFG in its criteria for the assessment of scholarly editions. Central to these recommendations are the criteria of long-term accessibility of source files in repositories, use of established markup languages like TEI/XML, persistent referencing, and configuration with open interface formats (OAI). Our edition further underscores the transparent documentation of contents and editorial guidelines. Information about technical details, such as transcription procedures of the text corpus or links between presented contents and digital objects will also be made available.