Moore, Marianne. Becoming Marianne Moore: The Early Poems, 1907-1924. Ed. Robin G. Schulze. Berkeley, CA: U of California P,
Schulze gathers facsimiles of the poems Moore published in advance of her first volume of poetry, 1924's Observations. She compares the appearance of the poems in their original publication context to their appearance in Observations. Subscribing to a social text theory of editing derived from the work of Jerome McGann, Schulze considers the "bibliographic code" of a poem alongside the "linguistic code." The latter refers to the words of the poem, while the form refers to the way the poem's material embodiment - in a particular book or magazine, with a particular circulation, owned by agents with particular interests, at a particular historical moment - contributes to the meaning of the poem.
Because Moore revised her poetry as frequently as she did, an appeal to "authorial intention" in selecting authoritative versions necessarily fails, unless one declares by fiat that the final intentions are authoritative. Given the consensus that Moore's last versions are often vastly inferior to earlier versions, Schulze adheres to a principle of "authorial selection." This allows that Moore published different versions for different reasons and by extension that the critic can take an eclectic, particularistic approach to interpreting her poems. What Schulze calls "historical fitness" preserves authorial agency from McGann's emphatic displacement of authority onto the production process, resulting in a dynamic process whereby author and productive forces are mutually implicated in the variance that readers observe in a poem from one work to another. In interpreting "Poetry" and "The Octopus," Schulze's volume allows me to see the textual variance between two early versions, including an account of their respective publication contexts in Others and The Dial.