Another question with which the textual critic of modern authors must be prepared to deal is the relative importance of different editions, each of which may have a prima facie claim to be considered authentic. Thus Shakespearean criticism must decide between the evidence of the first folio and the quartos: the critic of Shelley's poems must consider what weight is to be attached to the readings in the posthumous edition by Mrs Shelley, and in unpublished transcripts of various poems. Where there is great or complicated divergence between the editions, as in the case of Marlowe's Faustus, the production of a resultant text which may be relied upon to represent the ultimate intention of the author is well-nigh impossible.
1648), we are indebted for transcripts of many lost MSS.
The transcripts are entirely in the handwriting of Robert Napier himself, and the two notes that have been quoted prove that they were made from Napier's own papers.
There is nothing to show whether the transcripts were sent to Briggs as intended and returned by him, or whether they were not sent to him.
This treatise and the transcripts seem to be the only manuscripts which have escaped destruction.