JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004 Page: 320
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The genre, as a set of laws for transmitting knowledge or information,
inevitably relates to many of the dominant traditions/institutions (laws)
of interpretation. Its function, at one level, is decisively economic: by
transmitting/posting a reading/writing within the institutional borders, it
seeks to stabilize the possibilities of interpretation. In this sense, the genre
binds the annotation to the text in terms of a "tradition"-that is, in terms
of an historically mediated form of understanding that shapes and
constrains the possible protocols for determining meaning. Although the
annotator may certainly revamp and alter textual meanings, he does so
only within the genre of an already mediated protocol that enables his
revisioning to be understood. Meaning is thus always situated within a
genre: an historically constituted and transmitted institution that is
actually a tradition of commentators and annotators (Hanna 178, 184).
Notice here that the genre, as an institution for interpreting or
transmitting texts, is not based on a timeless and unmediated (pre-
discursive) form. On the contrary, because the genre is reproduced within
a tradition of commentators and annotators who stand in history and
speak in language, it is historical and linguistic. Rather than being the
foundation for meaning, the genre is a function of tradition, which itself
is conditioned on the possibility of transmitting and fusing past commen-
taries with the present. So in as much as the genre binds and conditions
the annotator, at one level, the annotator re-binds and re-conditions the
genre at another, for the annotation is not a "passive," "benign media-
tion," but an "active transmission" that constantly renews the works of the
past as present.4 The annotator thus reproduces the genre by linking past
and present meanings, by the "activation" of past and present presump-
tions into the fusion of a shared understanding. In this way, the annotator
presents a reading that creates "the acceptable range of conversation
within the group he supposedly serves" (184). The work of the annotator
makes the continuity and self-understanding of a tradition possible while
at the same time fusing the text within a "present living actuality," for the
text is not transmitted just to be historically footnoted, but to be "concret-
ized" through interpretation in its current validity.
I have been reworking the genre ofthe annotation within a hermeneu-
tical scheme that simultaneously acknowledges the constrained nature
and creative character of historical interpretation/transmission. As a
process of interpretation and transmission that works for the preservation
and generation of meaning, hermeneutics promises much to the annota-
tor, to those who seek to write/transmit the text/event into history. Indeed,
its concern with the possibility of continuity and understanding seems to
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Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition (U.S.). JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004, periodical, 2004; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28644/m1/66/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .