Re: a note on primary texts

Bob King (kingbx@HAMLET.UNCG.EDU)
Thu, 10 Oct 1996 12:12:05 -0400

On Thu, 10 Oct 1996, Beth W. Baldwin wrote:

> I suppose that I need to go back to my original posts to see whether or
> not I said that CFP editors were elitists. Now, that would be an instance
> of going back to the *primary text* to see if claims about the primary
> text by the *seconday text* (Bob) were accurate. This is why I think
> people should refer to primaries (not necessarily the same as "canon")
> *in addition to* secondaries. Often, secondaries are not accurate. Think
> of your students who like to talk about what the Bible says without
> consulting the text.

The question that occurs to me is which text in the primary text are we
going to talk about? For example, it's possible to be implying, in text,
that someone is an elitist or whatever, without ever actually writing it.
So there are these questions, for me anyway, about where *the* text
actually is, because there are texts, subtexts, etc. in any primary text.

And yes (in response to a different message on the same topic of elitism)
I agree there are shades of meaning here: it's different to say
that someone is using elitist language rather than to say that someone
is an elitist (and you may have been saying neither -- I'm giving my read
of your text).

Again back to reader response, are "primary" texts basically the ones that
we construct in our minds and bodies when we "read" another text? Is
there a Derrida or is there just my Derrida, your Derrida, and a third
text which is what happens when we compare yours and mine, and so on.

Primary texts are, for me, human beings -- which is why I'm interested in
the things that inform human sensibilities (things like experience,
history, ethnicity, gender, investments in particular theories for
particular personal reasons, etc.).