Denial, Anger and – Resignation

I was curious to see how preparing a digital edition compares to preparing a book. The fact that the format is open, that you can always correct and add, should make things more relaxed. Maybe because I am still mentally stuck in the book format though, I could not really let go.

Something inside me had conceived a precise idea of the minimal requirement. Though not consciously formulated, it kept  haunting me: I cannot post the link until… until enough text is there, until I have made sure that I did not forget a single line break because it looks stupid, until all footnotes are at the right place, until the favicon looks good… I realized that I had developed a sort of to-do list which, although different from the one I have when it comes to books, was just as annoying in terms of perfectionism. Surprisingly enough, I accepted to put online texts I knew I had not transcribed correctly, but did not want them to “look stupid” because of a missing line break. What sense does that make? Does it make sense at all?

Just like for a book, this mental check-list turned the last sprint into a kind of mourning process. I had to give up perfection, which is, every time, a painful process (I suppose I take some masochistic pleasure in it though, considering how often I repeat the experience). I questioned everything I do, I questioned the way I do it, I could no see the meaning of what I am doing any more. It seemed to me like there was no perspectives in all of that. Like I was fighting for blanks at the right place when, in the big picture, it should not matter. Or does it?

Like when preparing a book, all interaction with the real world turned into pain. I just wanted to sit at my desk instead of planning further projects which, my subconscious told me, would – again – drive me away from perfection. But they gave me human measure for things, and that saved me from drowning completely.

I wanted to observe the process too, which is why I authorized myself the two last blog posts. I knew there were psychological mechanisms at work I wanted to be able to look back at as being part of the genesis of this edition. It was clear that these posts would be, in tone and content, different from the others. That they would be irritating. But I wanted to formulate them and not keep them as an interior black hole like the finish of my PhD thesis still feels to me.

I would like to thank here all the people who made this edition – which, although imperfect, still took a good start!

Believe it or not: here is the link:

Cite this blog post
Anne Baillot (2012, April 5). Denial, Anger and – Resignation. Digital Intellectuals. Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Anne Baillot

I am a Professor of German Studies at Le Mans Université. My areas of research include German literature, Digital Humanities, textual scholarship and intellectual history.

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