One way in which a text can display internal differences is for several authors to have collaborated in writing it, during the same time rather than successively. The resulting stylistic contrasts can create intriguing puzzles for philology, sometimes assisted by modern technology, to solve.
Collaboration is highly dependent on local cultural style and social milieu; the index of collaboration may be used to characterize either a society or an academic discipline. From the collaboration proper, we should distinguish the anthology, for which see the Assembled category.Chinese Examples
Gwandz. We repeat the example of this Accumulative text here in order to emphasize that it is highly likely that its huge volume was not reached by storing up the contributions of several individual but consecutive authors, such as we must imagine for the smaller Analects, where all text production was probably in the hands of the school head. For the Gwandz, at least some collaboration within the same time frame probably took place. Attempts to identify some of the Gwandz chapters (or better, essays) with known persons are reported in the commentary of Rickett; few are subject to verification, and none so far have commanded general assent. We might attempt to determine how many different prose styles are present in a subgroup of works otherwise known to be of essentially the same period. This would give a measure, for at least that period, of the size of the ongoing Gwandz enterprise.
Allyn Rickett has translated and annotated the entire Gwandz, a task he accomplished unaided.
Lw-shr Chun/Chyou. The Ji section (LSCC 1-12) of this work, the original stratum which was completed in the year 0241, has sometimes been attributed to a huge team of scholars working under the guiding aegis, and on the payroll, of the Chin minister Lw Bu-wei (the standard large number 300 gets mentioned, and there are also larger claims). That scenario may well be right, but the team was probably smaller. Attempts to separate out chapters, or chapter segments, as the work of Confucians or Micians or others have accordingly been made. As with the Gwandz, none has gained general acceptance. The work may indeed be a collaboration, but perhaps a collaboration of persons closer together in viewpoint (say, eclecticizing Confucians of a Mencian stripe), constrained in one paragraph or another by the military imperatives of the time or by the probable receptivity of the King of Chin, the future First Emperor, for whose eyes it may be presumed to have been intended. Such possibilities have not been explored in recent scholarship on the LSCC.
The LSCC has been translated (as The Annals of Lü Buwei) by a collaborative team consisting of John Knoblock and Jeffrey Riegel.
Hwainandz. The patron of this large work, written over the period 0160-0140, is known to have been Lyou An, the King of Hwainan under Emperor Jing and Emperor Wu. The actual authorship was presumably collaborative. The earliest HNZ commentator, Gau You, gives the names of the team around Lyou An who presumably contributed to it. There are not 300 of them; there are 8 of them. Some of them had other duties than authorship in Lyou An's household. It is likely that the military overseer, for example, contributed, or contributed to, the military chapter, HNZ 15. No detailed apportionment of HNZ authorship has so far been undertaken.
The HNZ is currently being translated and annotated by a collaborative team whose three members will presumably be identified at the time of publication.
Li Bwo in 754 joined with some local poets to write a collaborative poem on a southern scenic spot, which for the occasion he renamed the Nine Flower Mountain:
Subtle Existence contrasts Dark and Light,
On magic peaks a Ninefold Flower lies
Held back by serried crags, the sun is slow;
Half bright with morning mist, the rock scarps rise
Gleaming in shadowed vales, the snows drift deep;
Splashing on sunlit banks, a torrent flies -
Green and lustrous are the jewelled trees
Where dwell Immortals, hid from prying eyes
We here have four people joining to produce one poem, on the same afternoon. The visitor leads off with a couplet announcing the theme, the locals each contribute a couplet expanding decoratively on the theme, and the visitor concludes by winding up the poem in a final couplet. The result is a shapely standard eight-line Tang poem; the most common literary form in the period, and thus the one which was most susceptible to improvisation, its conventions being known and shared by all literate persons.
Renga. The linked verse exemplified above was never more than a temporary amusement in its original Chinese context, but in Japan it developed as a genre of its own, the renga or "linked verse," among its greatest practitioners being the poet Matsuo Bashô (1644-1694).
The Examiner was a pro-government paper in the days of Queen Anne, to which the young Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) contributed a number of anonymous editorial essays. So did several other writers of the same period and political stance, also anonymously. Verifying the conclusions of previous scholarship as to Swift's contribution was undertaken by the present writer at the request of Swift scholar Frank Ellis. The findings of previous scholarship were confirmed.
Encyclopédie. Many of the 72,000 articles of this gigantic 17-volume enterprise, which appeared over the years 1751-1772, were written by its co-editor Denis Diderot; others were by known and named collaborators, in all about 140 of them. The editors of a new edition of the Encyclopédie are currently puzzling over the exact limits of Diderot's contribution.
Abbe Reynal wrote a long anti-colonial work called l'Histoire des Deux Indes, which appeared in 1772; a revised edition of 1774 was immediately placed on the Index. The hand of Diderot is visible in much of the material. Modern editors are trying to determine just how much.
The Federalist. This set of 85 essays was printed in various newspapers in 1787-1788 under the pen name Publius, during the debate over ratification of the American Constitution. It is one of the famous cruxes in authorship literature. It is known that the essays were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Madison marked the authors in his copy of the book into which they were collected, but not everyone has agreed. The matter was settled by statistical analysis of a Bayesian type (Mosteller and Wallace, 1964), and again by a more sensitive Bernoullian procedure (the present author, 1978). Madison's list was upheld.
Lyrical Ballads. This 1798 collection of poems in a new style was the joint work of Coleridge and Wordsworth; neither of them was listed as the book's author, the poems were not individually attributed, and the introductory Advertisement spoke of a singuler "Author." During its composition, the two had worked closely together, even writing at the same desk. Among the poems included were Coleridge's "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" (at the beginning) and Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey" (at the end). Wordsworth's authorship gradually usurped the volume; his name appears in the 1800 reissue, along with some additional poems by himself, and his influential Preface, which did not mention Coleridge, replaced the original Advertisement. For the original intimate collaboration, and its place in the lives of the two men, see now Sisman.
Is Sex Necessary? So asked James Thurber and E B White, in the Depression year 1929. Their collaborative book on the subject, written on spare moments from their work as staff writers for the New Yorker, achieved a lasting success with its public. It might have been written in any number of ways. Stylistic analysis established that it was written in the simplest way of all: in alternating chapters. Confirmation from E B White was not forthcoming (though the present writer still treasures the resulting coy holograph note), but the matter will be obvious to any reader who is primed with this expectation.
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