Nordic Conference on Textual Criticism

Ulrika Gustafsson

The eleventh conference of The Nordic Network for Textual Critics – Nordiskt Nätverk för Editionsfilologer (NNE) was held in Helsinki from Friday 11 September to Sunday 13 September 2009, with its main theme of Print-published and Electronically-Published Editions. Experiences, Planning and Changing Technology. The conference was hosted by The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland (SLS) and undertaken by its editorial staff for Zacharias Topelius Skrifter, the scholarly edition of Finnish author Topelius’s writings, written in Swedish.

Shared Editing Experiences

The NNE conference 2009 took place at Kalastajatorppa (in Swedish Fiskartorpet), i.e. the Hilton Conference and Events Centre, and at the Gyllenberg Art Museum, both located just outside the city centre of Helsinki. Around 80 delegates participated, most of whom were members of NNE from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. Lectures were presented in Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. The first lecture on Friday afternoon at the Gyllenberg Art Museum was held by Johnny Kondrup (University of Copenhagen) – a member of the NNE executive group – surveying 30 years of Nordic scholarly editions, from August Strindbergs Samlade Verk to N.F.S. Grundtvigs verker (the collected works of August Strindberg and of N.F.S. Grundtvig). He elaborated on relations between print and electronic publishing, and emphasised the question of safe filing. Future conditions of electronic textual editing were overall the central theme to the conference.

First and Second Generation Electronic Editions

Johnny Kondrup was followed by Per Stam (Stockholm University) and Christian Janss (Henrik Ibsen’s Writings), who discussed editions of Strindberg and Ibsen as electronic scholarly editions of the first generation, and Kim Björklund (SLS) and Petra Söderlund (The Swedish Society for Belles Lettres), who discussed the Topelius edition and The Selma Lagerlöfarkivet as editions of a second generation.

On Saturday and Sunday, the conference gathered at Fiskartorpet, where lecturers, including Petra Söderlund, Mats Dahlström (University of Borås), Hilde Bøe (Edvard Munch’s written material), Thomas Gartz (SLS) and Leif-Jöran Olsson (University of Gothenburg), elaborated on the possibilities of digital editing: open access editions, electronic critical apparatuses and how they differ from their printed counterparts, the file comparison programme Juxta and XML coding. Per Dahl (Aarhus University) gave a lecture on the relationship between introduction, commentary and textual criticism, and Jyrki Nummi (University of Helsinki) discussed the structure of the commentary and its importance with examples from the scholarly edition of Finnish author Aleksis Kivi’s Nummisuutarit (Sockenskomakarna, translated in English as The Heath Cobblers).

Besides ePublishing, another major theme was the scholarly editing of letters and diaries. Barbro Ståhle Sjönell (The Swedish Society for Belles Lettres) lectured on a number of concerns brought up in the editing of author’s letters – issues such as the selection and disposition of primary material – and introduced various solutions used in existing editions. From a related perspective, Björn Meidal (Uppsala University) shared his experiences of editing Strindberg’s letters. The conference was brought to a close by Patricia Berg (SLS), who presented the editing of orientalist Georg August Wallin’s travel diaries. The edition of Wallin’s writings is, as Zacharias Topelius Skrifter, a project undertaken by The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland.

The conference papers will be collected and published. NNE has published conference volumes since 1999, which now total eight in the series. For more information on the network, its organisation, conferences and publications, see www.nnedit.org.


There was also time for networking and socialising beyond the main schedule. Friday’s programme was rounded off with a soprano performance by Ilona Jokinen accompanied by Asta Lötjönen at the piano. They performed a suitably Nordic repertoire of songs by H.C. Andersen, Henrik Ibsen and Zacharias Topelius to arrangements by, among others, Edvard Grieg and Jean Sibelius.

At midday on Saturday, there was an electronic poster session. Editorial staff from Edvard Munchs tekster, Henrik Ibsens skrifter, Anders Chydenius samlade skrifter and Zacharias Topelius Skrifter introduced their achievements in electronic publishing. There was also time for some cultural tourism. Many chose to visit the home and office of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, located at a walking distance from the hotel and conference centre. On Saturday evening the participants in the conference enjoyed a festive dinner, during which some changes in the NNE organisation were announced: Barbro Ståhle Sjönell and Tone Modalsli (National Library of Norway) handed over their tasks in the NNE executive group to Paula Henrikson (Uppsala University and The Swedish Academy) and Hilde Bøe.

The NNE conference 2009 was made possible with funds from The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland, Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation and Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland. The organisers also want to thank all the participants who made the conference a success. We are grateful for the positive feedback received and look forward to participate in the next NNE conference which will be held in Denmark in 2011.

Ulrika Gustafsson
Zacharias Topelius Skrifter
Svenska litteratursällskapet Finland – The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland

No comments:

Post a Comment