The European Research Council recently awarded an ERC Starting Grant to Dirk Van Hulle, to further develop the Centre for Manuscript Genetics. The project (2013-2017) is called Creative Undoing and Textual Scholarship (CUTS): A Rapprochement between Genetic Criticism and Scholarly Editing. Its research hypothesis is that a rapprochement between the disciplines of scholarly editing and genetic criticism would be mutually beneficial.

The project endeavours to innovate scholarly editing with the combined forces of these two disciplines. Since genetic criticism has objected to the subservient role of manuscript research in textual criticism, the project suggests a reversal of roles: instead of employing manuscript research with a view to making an edition, an electronic edition can be designed in such a way that it becomes a tool for manuscript research and genetic criticism. The research hypothesis is that such a rapprochement can be achieved by means of an approach to textual variants that values creative undoing (ways of de-composing a text as an integral part of composition and literary invention) more than has hitherto been the case in textual scholarship.

This change of outlook will be tested by means of a digital edition and genetic analysis of six major works by the Irish author Samuel Beckett: three novels and three plays, as individual modules of the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project:

  • Novels
    • Molloy (finished)
    • Malone meurt / Malone Dies (finished)
    • L'Innommable / The Unnamable (finished)
  • Plays
    • En attendant Godot / Waiting for Godot (finished)
    • Fin de partie / Endgame (finished)
    • Krapp's Last Tape / La dernière bande (finished)

Alongside these modules (which combine a digital archive of Beckett's manuscripts with a series of monographs on their individual writing processes), the CMG will also produce:

  • An exogenetic BDMP module covering Beckett's personal library (finished)
  • A monograph titled Modern Manuscripts. The Extended Mind and Creative Undoing from Darwin to Beckett and Beyond (finished)
  • Two PhD theses; one by Pim Verheyen, and one by Wout Dillen (finished)
  • A series of relevant articles, authored by the project's PhD students, postdoctoral researcher (Pim Verhulst), and its supervisor (Dirk Van Hulle)