First edition

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Georg P. Salzmann holds a first edition of Stefan Zweig's chess novella in his hands

First edition ( Latin Editio princeps ) is a technical term in edition philology and the book industry , which denotes the first printed edition of a text, in extended use also that of a musical or graphic work. The abbreviation EA is also used for this in bibliographies etc. In the case of incunabula and early prints in particular , the first edition is also referred to as the original print .

Terminological demarcation

First hand edition

An "authorized" first edition produced with the participation of the author is also referred to as a first-hand edition . The counter-term is the final edition , the last printed edition of his work produced with the participation of the author.

Editio princeps

Today the terms first edition and editio princeps are usually used synonymously for the first printed edition of a work, but sometimes differentiated in meaning.

The term editio princeps was introduced in the early modern period by editors of classical literary works and then meant either the first printed publication of such a work (in the sense of first edition ) in today's understanding or, contrary to today's understanding, the one that may appear later, in the critical editing of the text, the most excellent print edition (in the sense of editio optima ).

The meaning "first printed edition" has remained predominant for the term Editio princeps in the philological sciences and is used for ancient, medieval and modern works alike, especially for authorized editions of works from the early modern period or the more recent past as an opposite term to edition last hand . The different meaning “philologically best edition” has played a comparatively marginal role, but has recently been revived programmatically in the textual criticism of the Bible by John van Seters and, following on from this, in the Ugaritic studies by Oswald Loretz and Manfried Dietrich .

Especially in the legal jargon of German copyright law, a narrower special meaning became established in the 20th century, see editio princeps (copyright) : “first publication of a work whose copyright protection has already expired”.

First edition and editio princeps vs. First printing

In Germanic book studies, following Paul Raabe, a narrower understanding of first edition and editio princeps is sometimes postulated: these terms should be reserved for the first printed publication of a work in bound book form, while any previous dependent reprint or preprint in a magazine or one previous paperback edition should be distinguished from this as the first edition . As a rule, however, the first printed publication, provided it is not just a preprint of an excerpt, is synonymous with the first edition , editio princeps or first print , regardless of the question of the independence of the publication and the type of cover.

First edition and first print

When examining the copies of a first edition, it may be necessary to distinguish between several editions of this edition. Particularly in the case of illustrated, printed or musical works, it may also be necessary to distinguish between different prints of an edition, which are each based on the same printing form but still have differences on the title page or inside the edition. The terms first edition ( Editio princeps ) and first edition normally only refer to the first edition of a work, not to subsequent editions. If the prints of the first edition differ, you may only be able to refer to the copies of the first print.

Handwritten first edition

The term editio was introduced long before the invention of the printing press for handwritten text versions and was then used in Christian literature especially for the different edited and translated versions of the Bible text, which Origen had compiled in the Hexapla and which Jerome was the first to do to sixth were counted. In the counting of consecutive versions of his work that an author or editor publishes, this tradition lives on in phrasings such as prima , secunda editio or today “first, second (revised) edition / edition” even under the conditions of the letterpress. In particular, the terms first edition and editio princeps refer by definition only to the first printed edition of a work, while they are generally not used for the handwritten first edition of a text (handwritten first-hand edition).

Importance of the first edition

First editions are generally valued and traded particularly highly by collectors and bibliophiles, partly for ideational reasons, but also for material reasons, especially when a successful work has been reprinted several times and in large numbers, so that comparatively fewer copies of the first edition are available. This is especially the case if it is the first work by an as yet unknown author and therefore only a small first edition was printed because the later success was not foreseeable.

In edition philology, their status depends on the tradition and the editorial objectives. In the case of posthumous works with a handwritten tradition, the first printed edition, but also each later edition, only has a special significance for edition philology if it is based on one or more manuscripts that have since been lost, unless these can be proven to be based on copies of still available templates , but can be important for clarifying the history of the text. On the other hand, first editions that were already made with the participation of the author (first-hand editions) have, at least in the case of works of literature and poetry, traditionally a particularly high priority in the textual criticism focused on the author and the genesis of his work, while in the textual criticism focused on the Reception history-oriented research can also focus on later and posthumous editions.

Bibliographies of First Editions

German literature

  • Gero von Wilpert , Adolf Gühring: first editions of German poetry. A bibliography on German literature. Alfred Kröner Verlag, Stuttgart 1967; 2nd Edition. ibid 1992, ISBN 3-520-80902-8 (Both editions are important because the second lacks around 100 authors who can only be found in the first)
  • Leopold Hirschberg: Der Taschengoedeke , Volume 1 and 2. Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag, Munich 1970.
  • Lothar Brieger : A Century of German First Editions. The most important first and original editions from around 1750 to around 1880 . Julius Hoffmann Verlag, Stuttgart 1925.

Anglo-Saxon literature

  • RB Russell (ed.): Guide to first edition prices . Tartarus, Heathfield 1999 ff., ISBN 1-872621-45-7
  • Guide to first edition prices . Tartarus Press, Horam, East Sussex 1996 ff. ZDB -ID 1385768x

Web links

Commons : First Editions  - collection of images, videos, and audio files
Wikisource: First Editions  - Sources and Full Texts
Wiktionary: First edition  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. [1] Entry in
  2. [2] Original print in: German dictionary by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. 16 vols. In 32 partial volumes. Leipzig 1854-1961. List of sources Leipzig 1971. Online version from February 28th, 2020.
  3. ^ [3] Autotypes in: E. Weyrauch, Lexikon des Gesamt Buchwesens Online. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  4. For example, the first collected edition of the twenty Plautinian comedies by Giorgio Merula in the Plautus editions or casts of the 17th century, at least since Pareus, is regularly cited as “editio princeps”, cf. Johann Philipp Pareus, M. Acci Plauti Sarsinatis Umbri Comoediae XX. superstites , Neustadt an der Hart: Heinrich Starck, 1619 (cited there as “Prima Editio” in the preceding list of the nouns auctorum, then cited in the glosses as “princeps” or “Editio princeps Veneta”, e.g. on Mostellaria I. ii note 20)
  5. For example in Jan Bernaerts, Ad P. Stati Papini Thebaiods & Achilleidos, Scholia: Ad Syluarum libros, Notae , Geneva: Jacques Chouët, 1598, p. 13f .: “excusos quinque composui, apud Aldum duos, anno MDII. MDXIX. alios Parisiis, Lugduni, Basilaeae. accessit his editio Veneta vetus, anni M.CCCC.XC. quam suo merito, (bonitate enim cum M. SS. certabat), indigitaui Editionem principem “; similar to Pieter Schrijver (Scriberius), Viri illustris Flavii Vegetii Renati & Sex. Julii Frontini de re militari Opera , Lyon: Jean Maire, 1633, p. 345: "Editio vetustissima, iure merito mihi Princeps"
  6. a b Ulrich Seelbach, Edition and Early Modern Times , in: Rüdiger Nutt-Kofoth (Ed.), Text and Edition: Positions und Perspektiven , Berlin: Erich Schmidt, 2000, pp. 99–120, here pp. 100f; Elisabeth Schulze-Witzenrath, literary studies for Italianists , 3rd edition, Tübingen: Narr / Francke / Attempto, 2006, p. 36; Klaus Lubbers, Introduction to the Study of American Studies , Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1970, p. 38; Wolfgang Kayser, The linguistic artwork , 16th edition, Bern / Munich: Francke, 1970, p. 29f.
  7. John van Seters, The edited Bible: the curious history of the 'editor' in biblical criticism , Winona Lake (Ind.): Eisenbrauns, 2006, p. 25 “the final standard edition ( editio princeps) ”, p. 116 ff .; Oswald Loretz / Manfried Dietrich, The term editio princeps in Ugaritology , in: Ugarit-Forschungen 37 (2005/2006), pp. 217–220
  8. ^ Paul Raabe, Introduction to Source Studies for Modern German Literature History , 2nd revised. Ed., Stuttgart: Metzler, 1966, p. 46; Klaus Zelewitz [and a.], Introduction to literary work , Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1974, p. 15; Andreas Herzog, literary studies digital , Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink, 2008, p. 81
  9. For example Klaus Weimar [u. a.], Reallexikon der deutschen Literaturwissenschaft , Volume 1, 3rd revised. Aufl., Berlin / New York: de Gruyter, 1997, pp. 414–418 (article “Edition”), here p. 414
  10. For example Gertraut Haberkamp, The first prints of the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , Volume 1: Textband, Tutzing: Schneider, 1986, p. 49f .; Helmut Hiller / Stephan Füssel, Dictionary of the Book , 7th edition, Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 2006, p. 115
  11. Eusebius, Historia ecclesiastica (translatio Rufini) VI, 16, GCS Eusebius II.1 (1903), p. 553 ff.
  12. For example Hieronymus, Epistola CVI, 19, PL 22,844
  13. Exceptions e.g. B. Monique-Cécile Garand, Guibert de Nogent et ses secrétaires , Turnhout: Brepols, 1995 (= Corpus Christianorum , Autographa medii aevi, 2), p. 55; Sandra Ellena, The role of the northern Italian varieties in the Questione della lingua , Berlin / Boston: de Gruyter, 2011 (= supplements to the magazine for Romance philology, 357), p. 72
  14. Gustav AE Bogeng , Introduction to Bibliophilie , Leipzig: Hiersemann, 1931, reprint Hildesheim: Olms, 2nd edition 1984, p 115th
  15. See e.g. B. Johannes Wallmann, Prolegomena for research into the sermon of the 17th century , in: ders., Pietismus und Orthodoxie , Tübingen: Mohr / Siebeck, 2010, pp. 427–446, here p. 428