Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A possible plan for an edition in ten volumes

I have now had a chance to do a lot of the work of estimating just how many pages we are dealing with, just how marginal and fragmentary some of the fragments and variants are, etc., and have been laying out tentative volumes. My working assumption at this stage, based on the little feedback I've received, is that there is indeed a desire for a fairly complete edition, but perhaps not such a deep scholarly desire that every fragment and variant needs to make it into a print edition. For the moment, I'm also banishing the thought that we'll run into insurmountable permissions issues regarding anything absolutely essential. And, not having been contradicted by anyone, I'm still assuming that the focus on presenting Bakunin's work, as opposed to, for example, documenting key conversations of which he was a part, is presently the one that fills the largest gap in the published materials. So, based on those assumptions, it looks like an edition of The Collected Works of Bakunin might logically break down into ten volumes, chronologically order, roughly like this:
  1. Early writings and correspondence: 1837-1851 
  2. Writings: 1860-1867 
  3. Writings: 1868-1869 
  4. Writings: 1870-1871 
  5. "The Knouto-Germanic Empire & the Social Revolution:" 1870-1871 
  6. "Against Mazzini" & other writings: 1871 
  7. "Statism and Anarchy" & other writings: 1872-1876 
  8. Correspondence 
  9. Correspondence 
  10. Correspondence, bibliography, index, miscellany
I see no reason to tie our publishing schedule to the chronological order, since it makes at least as much sense to work from general, familar, and/or currently topical to specific, unfamiliar, and of primarily historical interest. But the proposed division does respect some fairly natural divisions in Bakunin's career.

Getting to this stage of planning is a fairly significant relief, given the fragmentary nature of Bakunin's work. But perhaps what seems like a triumph of organization to me looks different to other potential users of the work, so, once again, I would welcome any and all feedback.