Heidegger's Gesamtausgabe as a Philosophical Problem: Prolegomena

Theodore Kisiel

Heidegger's “Collected Edition” as a philosophical problem? The very process of edition (and its translation) as a philosophical problem? Indeed - and not just one, but a veritable host of problems practical as well as philosophical, where the practical more often than not verge on the philosophical problems. Even one's translation of the term “Gesamtausgabe” - Complete Edition or Collected Edition? - tends to betray a reader's predilections toward metaphysical closure or toward an open gathering of texts for a concentrated lectio, or perhaps toward a much looser collation that allows for an even freer dissemination of texts. This latter is the direction taken by a recent book, the very first devoted entirely to the hermeneutical‐philosophical problem of Heidegger's Gesamtausgabe itself, its “plan” and its execution. It takes its starting point in the author's intention (mens auctoris) for his Gesamtausgabe, and by extension in its dialectical counterpart, the reader's reception of it. Author's intention and reader's reception: this dialectical relation has in fact constituted the most basic recurring hermeneutical problem of Heidegger's Gesamtausgabe up to this point, determining the initial parameters within which the myriad practical problems of edition and translation, thus of publishers' contracts, book formatting, “rights,” marketing and purchasing decisions, find their place, ever since the clouded inception and ongoing troubled history of this controversial publication venture.

Reinhard Mehring's genial book-title perhaps puts the finger on what is at stake here in a single albeit ambiguous, since ultimately middle-voiced, German word: Heideggers Überlieferungsgeschick, actively understood as “Heidegger's mission of transmission,” but also subject to a passive rendering as “Heidegger's fate of transmission,” the destiny to which the subtle and ultimately impersonal process of “tradition” (fickle fate) has willy nilly already consigned his Gesamtausgabe. “Libri autem habent sua fata,” intones one perceptive commentator, as he weighs Heidegger's life long hermeneutical practices and outlook against the seemingly contradictory pronouncements in which the Gesamtausgabe (= GA) was launched both near the end of his life and after his death, in his name.3 Did Heidegger have an overly frenetic hand in manipulating the destination of his by and large posthumous edition, as Mehring would have it (“The Self‐Staging of a Dionysian Feast”), or has he and his work simply fallen prey to the hermeneutically inept decisions of his literary heirs, perhaps beyond retrieval? Contrary to the accounts just cited, the following history of the genesis and growth of the GA will show that Heidegger himself, in keeping with his lifelong philosophy and in great trepidation, had a much stronger sense of the uncontrollable fatality to which his GA would be subject as it passed to his literary heirs and to future generations, to his “Nachwuchs.” The very fact that this history is forced to dwell inordinately on the mens auctoris, so much at odds with the “philosophical hermeneutics” of which Heidegger himself was the prime mover, is itself symptomatic that something has seriously gone awry in the transmission process.

Let us therefore first look at the facts, to the extent that these can be ascertained at this time. Since the history of the GA has already passed through three soil fresh polemical nadirs, the facts of this history remain by and large of the heated variety. Hopefully, the very exposure of these facts will help to cool them down a bit, so that we can then move onto the thoughts underlying the GA itself. It might well be, as in certain other matters in the “Heidegger case,” that “Tatsachen und Gedanken,” these facts and thoughts, are closely intertwined.

The Genesis and Growth of the GA

By all accounts, the aging Heidegger approached the idea of a Collected Edition of all of his works, published and unpublished, at first with adamant opposition and then, in the last two years of his life, with extreme hesitation and reluctance.4 His first and overriding priority was focused simply on how to dispose the “mountain” of papers accumulated over six decades of productive work that was now destined to become his literary “remains” (Nachlaß).5 The tenor of this concern, for items of considerable value in more ways than one, was communicated as early as 1967 to Hannah Arendt and J. Glenn Gray, frequent visitors to the ' Heidegger household in their capacity as advisors on the English translations of Heidegger: Glenn Gray accordingly tendered a plan to “photostat” the entire Nachlaß by some American institution “to protect it against destruction or loss,”6 a concern that had obsessed Heidegger since the war years. This “household” issue was finally resolved only in late 1973, coupled with the decision to begin a Collected Edition,with the completion of a new building at the Deutsches Literaturarchiv in Marbach am Neckar expressly designed to withstand a nuclear holocaust. Natives and visitors alike sometimes call it the “das Bunker”).7 This decision was finally implemented in December 1975 with the transfer of 100 cartons of papers from the family homestead to Marbach.8 In order to fund the building of a cottage for the “old folks” on their property in Freiburg-Zähringen, the Heidegger family in 1970 had already sold the autograph manuscript of Sein und Zeit to Marbach.In the early seventies, Frau Elfride Heidegger had placed many of the books from Heidegger's personal library on the auction market. The correspondence framing these decisions provides more than one insight into the family pressures to which the old Heidegger was subjected that ultimately forced him into the Gesamtausgabe.9

Klostermann's Prospectuses. The first publisher's prospectus outlining the “Plan of the GA” appeared in the Fall of 1974,the second in the Fall of 1975, and the third, the first of the posthumous prospectuses, which marks a radical change in editorial principles, appeared in March 1978.10 The first of the gray-brochured prospectuses, in April 1981, simply follows through on these posthumous changes and sets the pattern for all subsequent prospectuses up to the present.

If there is an editorial principle that is to guide and govern the GA throughout its four parts, then it is the “chronological principle,” which is underscored more than once in the only two prospectuses published during Heidegger's lifetime. For the basic intent of the GA is to expose in full detail and depth the very movement of Heidegger's vaunted Denkweg, his “path of thought in its sequence of steps” over nearly seven decades of plodding inquiry. And yet the plurality of ways suggested by this multiplicity of steps nevertheless treads a single path that wishes repeatedly to take the single but elusive “step back” into the ground of metaphysics, toward the prime mover of all these ways, the “being question”, (and so our “being a question”). “To allow the way of the universal Seinsfrage in its sequence of steps to be seen more deeply and urgently than ever before by the reader who thinks along this way,” that is the single and uppermost task of the GA.

To follow the dynamics of the single lifelong way in its multitude of particular ways and Holzwege (“deadends”) according to “the chronological principle of the origin of the writings”: the almost obsessive tenacity with which Heidegger clung to this single principle of edition is poignantly recorded in the conversation he had with HannahArendt in August 1975, nine months before he died in May 1976. And in his Postscript to GA9 dated July 1976, F. W. von Herrmann reiterates the thoroughgoing importance of this chronological principle, even with regard to the difficult-to-date scattered marginal comments made byHeidegger over the years in his personal copies of the Wegmarken essays, as a further way for providing insight into the “way-character of his thought” (GA9 487).

All this changes with the first posthumous prospectus of March 1975, which for the first time announces the notoriously a historical “Edition of the last Hand” as the guiding principle of the GA, which therefore compromises and distorts, in short, “qualities" and limits the scope and application of the chronological principle. The latter is as such never again mentioned in the prospectuses. The GA instead is now governed by a much more diluted version of the principle: “Mindful that the leading idea of the edition is to show the movement of the path of thought, the serial arrangement of the volumes as well as the order of writings within the volumes is based by and large on their temporal origin” (1978 Prospectus, my stress).

Die Leitsatze and Anweisungen. The crucial portion of the GA, at once its piece de resistance and editorial stumbling block, is its Second Division,which aims to lay out a seamless sequence of Heidegger's hitherto unpublished lecture courses from 1919 to 1944. By 1974, shortly after the contract with the Klostermann publishing house was signed and the plan of the GA had been laid out, Heidegger was puzzling over the enormously difficult editorial problem of how his extant course manuscripts, in varying stages of completeness, manuscript complexity, and (as it turned out) disarray, were in fact to be edited into printable texts in a way that would manifest the chronological path of his thought. As you Herrmann reports in the first formal public (newspaper) announcement of the GA, its plan, its aim, and its “chronological principle,” on Heidegger's 85th birthday on September 26, 1974: “But to allow the path of thought to be seen also requires, especially since this is to be a critical edition, that later formulations, revisions and marginal comments, which abound in the manuscripts and hand copies, be worked into the final text. In order to be able to resolve such problems posed by the work of edition in accord with its overall idea, the Philosopher is now working out fixed general guidelines (Richtlinien) for the GA” (my emphasis).11 Over the next year and a half, von Herrmann functioned as secretary for Heidegger in composing several drafts of a typescript that outlines such “Guiding Principles for the Edition of the Second Division (lecture Courses) of the GA of the Writings of Martin Heidegger.”12

Heidegger never got around to signing the typescript draft made final by his death, requiring Elfride Heidegger, for a series of grant proposals (all rejected) applying for financial support of the GA from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (= DFG), to officially “bear witness to Heidegger's complete consent to the GuidingPrinciples” as formulated in that final draft. And according to the same testimony, Heidegger shortly before his death, “at the beginning of May in 1976,” in his own hand also formulated a single-page statement ofAnweisungen to “supplement the Guiding Principles.” It is the only extant document from Heidegger's own hand that provides direction on editorial procedures for the GA and, as a “last hand” document, in fact not merely supplements but also supersedes the five-page typescript of the Leitsatze. Leitsatze (Guiding Principles) and Anweisungen (Directions) together make up the Richtlinien (Guidelines) distributed to editors of the GA from 1977 on, and repeatedly referred to as “guidelines” in their Postscripts.

The first volume to be edited on the basis of these official Guidelines was the “Leibniz Logik” published in 1978 and edited by Klaus Held,who oddly enough took exception to the explicit handwritten instruction he had directly from Heidegger to delete expletives, transitional and other “filler” words, deciding instead to leave them in precisely in order to preserve the lecture quality of the text. In making his editorial decisions, moreover, Held felt the need to seek guidance more from the precedent of “courses edited by Heidegger's own hand” (GA26 289/224) during his lifetime (e.g. EM, NI & NII, WD) than from the Guiding Principles. The two GA editions of courses that appeared during the old Heidegger's lifetime, GA24 in November 1975 and GA21 in February 1976, were obviously edited without benefit of the directive documents that together constitute the Guidelines. This is especially apparent in Walter Biemel's edition of the “Aristoteles Logik” of WS 1925-26, which contains a number of footnotes of material content (GA21, esp. p. 150f, a long Beilage to p. 32 in Heidegger's course autograph), contrary to the “Guiding Principle” of a seamless and continuous text without any indication of such distinctions in content, whether it be by footnoting, parentheses, brackets, etc. Later editors were stringently controlled against such breaches of an editorial etiquette imposed in rigidly uniform fashion by the GA administration.

Many of the Guiding Principles composed by von Hermann are quite routine - “follow the rules of Duden” (roughly equivalent to our Chicago Manual of Style) - reflecting the drudging banality of copy editing. The most troublesome ones come to a critical head in 3h): “None of the adoptions excerpted from the student transcripts are to be labeled as such in the print manuscript.” Rigid application of this rule has resulted in serious conflations of the chronological strata of Heidegger's development within the editions. For example, the dozen or so instances of usage of the terminology of Existenz (existenziell, Existenzialien, etc.) in the edition of the course of SS 1925 are in every instance actually handwritten insertions in Heidegger's copy of the stenographic transcript of the course, and thus postdate the lecture course itself. The two instances of “existenzial” in the following semester (GA21 151, 267) are likewise insertions that do not belong in the course itself. But in none of these instances is the reader notified in any way, and so is left in the dark regarding Heidegger's abrupt and whole hearted plunge into at least the terminology of Existenzphilosophie only with the final draft of Being and Time itself, the draft of March 1926, and his eschewing of this terminology in the preceding years.13 For lack of judicious editing, one of the express hopes anticipated from the overall aim of the GA, which seeks to make the precise course of Heidegger's thought visible, is not editorially cultivated, namely, to overcome once and for all “the coarse misunderstanding of classifying Heidegger within existence-philosophy.”14

[The recently published Sophistes-Vorlesung, in its footnoting and appendix of supplemental texts, provides welcome relief and a hopeful sign of a more enlightened editorial practice in the future that would avoid such chronological distortions of the text, suggesting perhaps that the GA-administration is finally taking seriously its responsibility of preparing the GA for the day when it will inevitably become the basis for a more critical edition of Heidegger's works. There are about 50 footnotes, for example, that separately record Heidegger's handwritten marginal notes (marked “Rb. Hs.” = Randbemerkung Heideggers) inserted into the stenographic transcript of the latter half of the course (GA19 189ff, thus postdating the lectures themselves, sometimes by years (201, 254, 256, 408, 437, 468), and all in all “obviously stemming from different stations along his path of thought” (660).]

Heidegger, in surveying the condition of his course manuscripts in his old age, was acutely aware of the enormously complex task he was transferring to the editors of his lecture courses and the varying skills he was demanding from them in meeting the primary aim of displaying the precise chronological movement of his course of thought. Thus, the handwritten Anweisungen that “supplement” the Leitsätze, and, as a “last hand” document, in fact supersede them, clearly reflect the hermeneutic good sense we would expect from the panhermeneutical Heidegger, contrary to the posthumous nonsense and chronological confusion that resulted from the policy of rigid conformity exacted by the narrow application of the Guiding Principles. The granting of discretionary leeway and flexibility to the skilled editor presumed to be equipped with the appropriate φρόνησις" or prudent judgment, who is called upon to interweave a course manuscript full of addenda and often sketchy marginal comments with the extant student transcripts into a continuous readable text, occurs in the only word that is underlined in the Anweisungen, which can readily serve as an ultimate criterion for all the editorial decisions demanded of the GA: “das dem jeweiligen Text Gemäße." Our skillful editor is therefore called upon to make discretionary judgments of expanding, shortening, transposing, interpolating etc. according to “whatever is appropriate for the particular text” in question: All this to fulfill the prescribed task of constructing the text into a whole while “deconstructing” or articulating it into its parts, but with an eye constantly fixed on the central goal of bringing out the precise dynamics of Heidegger's path of thought to the fullest possible measure of overtness. There should be no quarrel over the goal to give philosophical precedence to the “way” character of thought for a drinker who tirelessly pointed to the fieldpaths, waymarkers, and “deadends” (Holzwege) of a thought ever “under way toward language,” etc. etc. And given the extant state of his Nachlaß, Heidegger quickly decided that his personal manuscripts would require supplementation by student transcripts to convey the fullest possible sense and intricacy of that Way. But having granted that much to the mens auctoris, Heidegger in the end tightly, in keeping with his lifelong hermeneutic principles, shifted the editor's attention away from the Mind of the Author to the matter of the text, in conceding discretionary power to the editors to do whatever is appropriate to make that text speak for itself, as a “way - not a work.” Thus von Herrmann's advice to one editor struggling with the interpretive problem of how to divide her text “apropos of its sense” (sinngemäß) and “doing justice to its subject matter” (sachgerecht) “in critical cases each editor must ask herself how Heidegger himself would have decided the matter," is totally wrongheaded.15 Instead of this regression to a psychologistic hermeneutics focusing on the subjectivity of the author, “Heidegger himself” diverts our attention away from himself to the text itself, to It and to wherever it leads. The point is central to our topic, and is not unimportant also with regard to the recurring charge, especially after the Farias firestorm, of editorial manipulation of some of the key Heideggerian texts.

Past Scandals of Editions. It also contributes to the old Heidegger's sense of fatality regarding the posthumous transmission of his thought by way of the “plan of the GA” as it passed into the hands of his literary heirs and executors. Who knows what other contingencies of his facticity Heidegger had in mind when he reiterated that student transcripts, in spite of the indispensable role they were to play in the plan of the GA, remain “muddy sources” in the transmission of his thought, then added in great trepidation, “I only hope that what happened to Hegel never happens to me.”16 Thus, Gadamer's opening remarks at the inaugural meeting of the Heidegger Society on May 26, 1986, while soothing the long troubled philological conscience of the German academic community over a Gesamtausgabe whose bungled editions had themselves become muddy sources, would have been small consolation to Heidegger: “If this (Collected) Edition turns out as badly as the Hegel edition put out by the ‘Friends of the Eternalized One,’ it will be outstanding. For the world-wide reputation of Hegel was not the result of his Phenomenology or his Logic but of the edition of his lecture courses. it might well be the same for Heidegger. However it turns out, we should be mindful that the publication of his lecture courses presents us with a genuine task.”17 Heidegger's concern is clearly related to the notorious unreliability of the Freundesvereinsausgabe of 1832-45, of editions sometimes based entirely on student transcripts conjoined in arbitrary fashion without concern for the chronological record of Hegel's development and under the fiction that the lecture courses were being presented in the definitive final form in which Hegel left them. If the “Society of Friends” had no real sense of edition, it certainly had a program to promote, based on a conception of Hegel's philosophy as the in superable highpoint of the entire history of thought. Without philological training or experience in editions, the circle of “Friends,” which included the widow Marie Hegel, also sought, through its particular selection of student transcripts and the timing of their publication, to cultivate a public persona of “Hegel” amenable to the political and religious climate of the times. Was Heidegger perhaps fearful not only of the amateurishness to which a poorly administrated, totally uncritical GA would be prone, but also of the “edition politics”18 toward which the “plan” of his GA could be twisted? Readers of this Hegel edition, beginning with Marx and Kierkegaard, not to speak of the Hegelian Right and Left, clearly understood its propagation of philosophy as a final system, and reacted accordingly, in ways that have proved decisive for the history of philosophy. Heidegger's concern is perhaps paranoic, but it is by no means trivial: it concerns a number of finely tuned issues of transmission and reception as these are carried out by way of the execution of an initial plan based on a specific sense of the interrelation of the conceptions of edition and philosophy. With so much dependent on the judicious decisions of prudent and skillful editors of his lecture courses, it is small wonder that the old Heidegger felt himself at the mercy of his “tradition,” as he looked with trepidation toward the time when the edition would be definitively “out of his hands.”

Controversy over the Heidegger editions has also evoked allusions to the antics of Elisabeth Forster-Nietzsche, both in the German and American Press.19 Family complicity in the work of archives and editions is of course not unusual, and sometimes such work has proceeded smoothly enough, without undue incidents, as in the cases of the Fichte and Schelling editions. And if this second great scandal of editions in the German tradition is now brought to bear in order to assist us in understanding the “Heidegger case,” let us also at once recall that Germany, that “nation of poets and philosophers,” up to the present day still leads the world (and so sets the example) in the care and scholarship {and the funding) that it invests in preserving and propagating its philosophical classics and maintaining the highest standards in their edition.20

In what way is the administration of the Heidegger papers akin to the case of Elisabeth ForsterANietzsche? Not so much in the actual forgeries of texts, exposed in detail in the fifties by Karl Schlechta, as in the mentality of forgery to which a family member can succumb in assuming total control over the papers byway of inheritance, and then presuming to speak with total authority in the Philosopher's name. Sister Elisabeth, abysmally ignorant of her brother's thought-world, not to speak of the philology of editions, appointed herself high priestess of her brother's philosophy and sole executor of his literary estate. In all matters legal and philosophical, she claimed that her brother had personally authorized her to speak in his name and to interpret his philosophy. More often than not, therefore, she clearly overstepped her competence: “She had barely a child's competence of philosophical ideas, and would not have known one to distort it.”21 That she could nevertheless get away with it came to be regarded by her as perhaps her greatest virtue: “‘I’ve noticed,’ she confided to her brother, ‘that I can talk about anything without understanding much of it.’”22 Authority over the papers provided additional avenues of deception and coverup. “Nobody could challenge her interpretations with any authority because she was the guardian of et unpublished material - and developed an increasingly precise memory for what her brother had said to her in conversation.”23 Her assertion of authority over her brother's life and thought, to the point of total monopoly, brought her at one point to propose the suppression of Book IV of Zarathustra or, barring that, at least its mutilation. This was part of a concerted campaign to present a “hagiographical” image of “Nietzsche” to the world after her own image and likeness, which on the one hand involved covering up certain family secrets (hereditary illness) and, on the other, projecting her own political views through her brother's thought: “By bringing to her interpretation of her brother's work the heritage of her late husband, she prepared the way for the belief that Nietzsche was a proto-Nazi.”24

If we are to understand how analogous problems and tendencies now plague the Heidegger editions, allowances must of course first be made for somewhat different personalities and for the change in family circumstances brought on by the Germany of the postwar years in order to surmise what personal and political issues might now be relevant. The following review of the posthumous history of the Heidegger Gesamtausgabe as a “family business” (Familienunternehmen) may be regarded as alternative rendering of Mehring's thesis that this is precisely what Heidegger wanted “after the example of Nietzsche, in his succession” (in der Nietzsche-Nachfolge).25 It is a less romantic and more mundane history than his, insofar as the scene now shifts from the Dionysian Nietzsche, as the mediocre Nietzsche takes center stage. The family after all has always been the initial site of the transmission of a heritage to successive generations. The transmission of the recent past has undoubtedly been poignantly reenacted in the privacy of many a postwar German household with varying degrees of turbulence and unsettled resolution (a frequent topic in recent German cinema). The fact that it is now the Heidegger household naturally makes this particular transmission a less than private affair. To whom does Heidegger now belong? The “mind of the author” now conflates with the mentality of the author's family, which claims to speak the author's mind in posthumum. The old Heidegger's peculiar family circumstances thereby become implicated in the philosophical problem of the transmission and reception of what is now purported to be “his” Gesamtausgabe.26

The first round of polemics. The first reviews almost immediately began to raise serious reservations about the quality of the editorial work in the first volumes of the GA to appear.27 But the crucial dispute over scholarly standards, which erupted shortly after Heidegger's death, took place between the family and its publisher on the one side and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG = NEH & NSF) on the other. in return for financial support of the GA, the DFG wanted standards approaching a critical edition, but was willing to accede to some extent to the wishes of the author, if these could be documented. The documents produced, the aforementioned Leitsätze and Anweisungen as officially notarized by Frau Elfride Heidegger,were adjudged to be insufficient. Since no further documents were ever produced to support the alleged “Will and Testament of Martin Heidegger,” repeated requests for funding were consistently denied. An early resolution out of the documentary impasse was a proposal to form a scholarly committee (Walter Biemel, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Otto Pöggeler) to oversee the operational standards and scholarly decisions pertaining to the GA. The family and its publisher refused to share control over the GA even in its scholarly aspects, rejecting the idea of a committee on the premise that it was contrary to the wishes of Martin Heidegger.28

The beleaguered decisions of a family now under severe siege by the German academic community are reflected in the 1978 prospectus from the publisher Vittorio Klostermann. For the very first time, it proclaims that what Heidegger wanted was not a historical-critical edition, replete with a philological apparatus and an index, but instead an “edition of the last hand.” By this time, seven volumes of the GA had appeared and twelve volumes were reported to be in preparation. The massive publication venture was well on its way, now at a stage of no return.

That Heidegger did not want the hyperphilology of a historical-critical edition can readily be surmised from his critique, on the opening day of his second Nietzsche course in 1937 (NI 17f/9f), of the Nietzsche Gesamtausgabe being published during the Nazi years. That he wanted no critical edition at all, as some have claimed, is however extremely doubtful. That an edition of the last hand was understood to be the contrary to a critical edition is belied by von Herrmann's article of 1974,which speaks of a“critical Collected Edition of the last hand."29 Whatever Heidegger's thoughts in favor of an edition of the last hand (There is no document at hand from Heidegger's hand stating that he wanted an edition of the last hand!), it did not prevent him in his earlier days from favoring the edition of the first hand of the Critique of Pure Reason over the Second edition, thus providing by way of the temporal difference a unique glimpse into Kant's Denkweg,

1978 also brought the only documentary evidence ever made available by the otherwise recalcitrant Heidegger family, which has consistently not produced any hard evidence for its claims, on what Heidegger might have wanted for “his” GA. The republication of Frühe Schriften as Volume 1 of the Gesamtausgabe begins with a three page facsimile of Heidegger's autograph, reported to have been written “a few days before his death,” of the title page for the entire GA, followed by its maxim “Ways - not Works” and its dedication to his wife. If Heidegger was truly reluctant to publish aGesamtausgabe at all, the dedication can be read with more than a touch of irony. The motto “Ways - not Works” clearly has deep precedents in Heidegger's philosophy both early and late, and is crucial for an understanding of the GA as a philosophical problem. In first applying this maxim to the task of editions, the fourth prospectus of April 1981 - the ones that follow repeat the same texts ‐ marshals two notes (out of how many?) toward Heidegger's never-to‐be-finished Foreword to the GA meant to provide direction in interpreting the maxim. But we are unfortunately never allowed to see any other notes nor given an account of the circumstances in which the Foreword (meant to be “65 pages” in length?)30 fails to come to fruition.

A new posthumous principle: Edition without Interpretation. Within the still polemically charged atmosphere of December 1982, 6 years after Heidegger's death, F. W. von Hermann as chief editor now under the charge of the new family administrator, the son and recently retired Bundeswehr Colonel Hermann Heidegger, issues anew statement of principle and practice regarding the edition now in full progress, “The Edition of Heidegger's Lecture Courses in his Collected Edition of the Last Hand.” The dedication to one of the prime movers of the GA, “In memoriam Vittorio Klostermann,” reminds us how much time has lapsed since the launching of this edition project. The article is divided into two parts, “Heidegger's Edition-Directions” (the Anweisungen) and “Edition without interpretation.” It would have been a golden opportunity, in keeping with the precedent of 1978 (GA1), to reproduce a facsimile of the single page autograph of Anweisungen, the one and only extant document in Heidegger's hand with instructions on editing “his” GA.31 By this time, reviewers and academics alike had repeatedly voiced the need for full and public disclosure of the principles used to edit the texts which they were purchasing and quizzically reading, in a presuppositional void. Such requests for documentary substantiation are (and continue to be) systematically ignored. Instead, the article presents the four handwritten directives in piecemeal fashion, incompletely and out of order, and so interprets them for us underlings without the benefit of the whole in which they were originally cast.32 This naturally insures (and inures) the canonical status of only one interpretation of them, purportedly that of the author six years departed.

By April 1981 (the fourth prospectus), 10 volumes of lecture courses are out and 12 are announced as “in preparation.” The growing pack of editors had manifestly proven to be an unruly bunch, a motley crew of varying competencies and inclinations surprisingly with a mind of their own and chafing under the rigid imposition of directives from above (witness Klaus Held in 1978), in a conformity exacted by aGA-administration with no real sense of editorial prudence sensitive to the problems of particular cases (which Heidegger himself had anticipated). Now anew principle is evoked, obviously designed to achieve more complete control over their errant ways, purportedly stemming from “Heidegger himself,” introduced as a logical consequence of the first posthumously announced principle of an “edition of the last hand." “The edition without interpretation gives the reader free access to the texts,"33 without the mediating intervention of an editor's interpretation either byway of an introduction or an index. In fact, von Herrmann has the temerity to report this, six years after the voice had been stilled, as “Heidegger's decision for an edition without interpretation” and to refer to “Heidegger's strict directive” to publish the volumes without indexes.

One would have to imagine that the panhermeneutical Heidegger had in his dotage lapsed into senility even to utter the words, let alone to express the wish, for an “edition without interpretation.” In the context of a lifetime of thought which began with a “hermeneutics of facticity” of life itself and is now to be gathered for a collected lectio a Collected Edition, the slogan “Edition without Interpretation” is blatantly a square circle, a contradiction in terms. Better to strive for an “Edition without Misinterpretation,” since it is precisely this ideal that many a GA editor will fail to meet by an ever widening margin, as the increasing crop of error-ridden editions demonstrates. More helpful to a better future fate for the GA would be a study of the different sources of errors of interpretation that have already prevented many a GA-editor from delivering the “readable working text” promised to the subscriber of the GA: e.g. inability to read the old German handwriting of Heidegger's day, lack of the background knowledge requisite to interpret Heidegger's frequent abbreviations correctly, etc.34 Consider, for example, the enormous background understanding needed to decide that Heidegger had made a “slip of the pen” in one or another critical passage (e.g. GA63 7, “transitiv” vs. “intransitiv”). Already noted is the chronological distortion that arises from conflating various layers of marginalia upon marginalia without any notice to the reader.The Guidelines by definition mandate an editor to interpret how to divide a seamless autograph into titled subsections, whether and where to insert Heidegger's recapitulations or “repetitions” of the previous lecture hour, omitting it only if it is a “pure” repetition, etc. etc. One might mention, finally, the numerous unsuspected gaps in the already published editions due to the virtually systematic exclusion of any of Heidegger's marginilia that happen to be written in the old Gabelsberger shorthand, for want of a reader trained in that old art. So much for the barriers of understanding that are supposedly lifted by issuing an edict barring an editor from any and all interpretation, in order to give the reader “free access to the texts." Truer to the hermeneutic art of edition is the sobering starting point laid down by the general editor of the issue of the Freiburg University Notes in which you Herrmann's article appeared, that “edition is interpretation.”35 Thus, in retrospect, it would have been far more prudent to raise the hermeneutic consciousness of our motley crew of editors in regard to their inevitable role as first interpreters of their particular text, by allowing them the freedom to elucidate their decisions and difficulties byway of an Editor's Introduction as well as by annotation, and to examine and crosscheck the consistency of these decisions by way of a disciplined systematic Index.

That the old Heidegger had a strong sense of this most primitive interpretative dimension of edition is betrayed by a remark made by Elfride Heidegger in defense of the mandate that “each editor must be ready to take on the publication of a lecture course on his or her own responsibility": “Heidegger was fully cognizant of the fact that the allocation of the volumes of lecture courses to individual editors would make a rigorously uniform editorial elaboration impossible, not withstanding the prescribed guidelines. He saw nothing wrong in this, since the auditors of his courses likewise apprehended his spoken word in different ways.”36

The command-structure of a family business. It is not clear when the regime of Colonel Hermann Heidegger began, assuming the administration of the “family business” from his mother, who in 1977 had identified herself as “sole heir of the literary estate.” He is first publicly introduced to the scholarly world as the “estate administrator” (Nachlaßverwalter) in the opening sentence of this 1982 article (p. 85), whose basic aim was to justify and consolidate that business against the claims of any “public committee” in its leadership, or “the support of any institution” with a “staff of coworkers paid for from public funds (p. 101). This total privatization of the family holdings is here solemnized and defined by the public announcement of transfer of the power of “Imprimatur (let it be printed!)” (sic!) from the philosopher father to the soldier son. “His scope of duties includes that of guarding over the maintenance and compliance to the guidelines and directions laid down by Martin Heidegger” (p. 86). Such a command was after all not unfamiliar to the career-soldier son, who had served as staff officer in Berlin during the war; after release from a Soviet prison camp in 1949 he managed to squeeze in a degree in military history from Freiburg before the Wehrmacht was reactivated as the Bundeswehr in 1953. With prospects of becoming a general looking dim, he took a nearly retirement as colonel in the late seventies in order to take over the family business. His major qualification for his new scholarly duties was that he could read his father's miniscule “eye-grinding” handwriting. In 1983, his edition of Heidegger's more incidental essays (GA13) and his reedition of the 1933 rectoral address, exactly 50 years after Hitler's Machtergreifung, appeared. As he notes in the Foreword to that reedition, the discretion of when to republish it, along with Heidegger's retrospective “Facts and Thoughts” (1945) on it, was left to him by his father.

The mind of the father is now delivered over to the mind of the son within the closed circle of the family. The mens auctoris now assumes a more military cast and militant tone, much like the mind-set of a staff officer in aBerlin at war. The self-proclaimed right of Imprimatur is first applied to his wayward editors, where the rules and directives transmitted to him are understood with martial rigidity rather than phronetic flexibility. Herr Oberst Heidegger is not at all sympathetic to Heidegger's own acute awareness, documented by his mother, of the inescapable variability of the work of individual editors or to Heidegger's directive of flexibility vis-a-vis the various states of texts which the editors must cope with, each in their way. This military impulse toward uniformity and conformity will soon wreak its devastation on the transmission of his father's philosophical ideas beyond the borders of Germany to the entire world. For the paranoia of absolute control will now extend to the translations of the GA, which are just beginning to be contracted as Herr Oberst Heidegger assumes his now rapidly burgeoning international command. Herr Heidegger will have no sympathy for variations in national institutions and customs of scholarship, translation, reception and publication. Here I am interested especially in the American connection to the GA, to which I can bear personal witness and provide first-hand testimony, though it is not unrelated to other national connections.

In September 1981, Colonel Heidegger cuts his first marching orders, a “Directive to all Translators.”37 I believe that I was the very first translator to receive such orders, then still in abbreviated form. Armed with an NEH grant to provide a critical annotated translation of GA20, further equipped with a Humboldt grant to spend the summer of 1981 with Walter Biemel, I had learned in the first several weeks of my German sojourn that the German edition ofGA20 was so riddled with errors that a visit to the archives was imperative in order to look at the underlying manuscripts and so to restore the text to a modicum of readability and accuracy before translation. The fruit of my first visit to the archive in Marbach - I had received Herr Heidegger's permission to do so in early July 1981 was an errata list of some 70 errors to GA20, which I sent to him in April 1982. The list was first published (without acknowledging me as the source) and distributed in 1985. (In the meantime, I had discovered 40 additional errors in the course of my ongoing translation work on GA20, which were left unreported by the family, and the Japanese have since found others!) In the light of these archival revelations, some of the formulations in the Directive (retained in all future versions) struck me from the start as ludicrous, that I as translator must “keep exactly to the German rendition of the GA and limit himself to the text as published.” Moreover, that “my father had clearly voiced” this utterance, announced ad hoc for the very first time five years after the fact of his death, struck me as either trite (since a translator would normally do so) or downright comic in its black humor, in view of the “damaged goods” that the GA‐administration had foisted upon me with nary an apology, and now in fact sought to make into an inviolable sacred text by peremptory decree. So the “will of my father” that the GA be a “readable working edition,” and that the translations must follow suit, was being muddled from the start at the archival source by a self-willed administrative ineptness in the face of editorial incompetence,dictating that major repairs be undertaken on the botched editions being delivered to the reading public.

In 1982, Albert Hofstadter's English translation of GA24 coincidentally appeared at the same time as Emmanuel Martineau's French translation of GA25. Hofstadter, blithely unaware of any restrictions on his activity as a translator (Klostermann had in fact imposed none back in 1978 when the contract was signed), had framed his annotated translation, as mandated by the guidelines of the two NEH grants supporting the work, with a substantial introduction and an even more substantial lexicon (57 pages). This index has proved invaluable over the years for Anglo-American scholarship on Heidegger. Martineau, on the other hand, following the more an arch French ways of publication, provided no supporting framework whatsoever. Hermann Heidegger, upon being confronted with the two translations, preferred the latter pulp format over the former hardback, and proceeded to supplement his Decree to all Translators to prevent a recurrence of the American offense in presuming to introduce and index his father's text. A new sentence is added to the second Directive to all Licensed Publishers and Translators of Martin Heidegger's Works, dated 29 October 1982: “In accord with the wish of my father, the translator, like the editor, must restrict himself to a brief postscript.” This Directive assumed its definitive form in 1984,where the prohibition against Indexes is also officially proclaimed. But the displeasure over indexes had already been expressed in noun certain terms to Indiana University Press in regard to the manuscript of Michael Heim's translation of GA26.38

Indexes. On September 20, 1977, a contract was formally enacted between Vittorio Klostermann (Frankfurt) and the publishing house of Sobun-sha (Tokyo) for the Japanese translation of Heidegger's Gesamtausgabe in its entirety. A clause (the most important from the Japanese perspective) was explicitly included to permit translator's annotations, a postscript and an index, without any restrictions on these being stipulated.39

The first GA-prospectus, issued by Klostermann in the Fall of 1974, includes the following sentence: “Plans are being made to provide all volumes with an index.”40 This sentence is dropped without explanation in the second prospectus of Fall 1975. Only with Hermann Heidegger's letter to the American Heidegger Conference in July 1984 does the reason become a matter of record: the idea of indexes for the GA was dropped for “cost-efficient” (kostengünstige) reasons.41 It was not an author's decision but more a publisher's convenience, especially in the face of looming difficulties in obtaining public funding for publication subventions. In contrast, Heidegger himself, in his obituary to Hildegard Feick in 1974, presents imposing philosophical arguments in favor of indexes for the GA. The most important of these arguments is that in-depth indexes like that of Feick for Sein und Zeit (and by extension that of Hofstadter for GA24) provide “the possibility of insight into the ways and shifts of my thought.” Frau Feick had accordingly anticipated the needs of the GA precisely in its central guiding purpose.42 The later ban on indexes accordingly undermines the most central “wish of my father,” as reflected in his motto for the GA. The opportunity for an in-depth tracking of the ebb and flow of Heidegger's concept-formation, from the early formally indicative concepts to the later tracings of the “leading words” of metaphysics and the poietically suggestive words hinting of a new beginning, is thus ignorantly and haughtily discarded.

For some unexplained reason, these strong, document-backed, arguments in favor of indexes - the Feick obituary, the Japanese indexes - were dropped in the transition from the Kisiel-Scharff draft approved by the Heidegger Conference in mid-May 1984 to the Emad-Sallis draft of the letter which was sent to Hermann Heidegger circa May 29, 1984. In his response of July 15, 1984, Herr Oberst Heidegger flatly rejected the idea of indexes and instead conceded to a next to useless glossary (without page numbers). His concession of a translator's introduction up to 15-20 pages turned out to be a pseudo-concession. Exercising his presumed ‘right’ of “Imprimatur” backed by the threat of cancellation of the press contract, Oberst Heidegger peremptorily dismissed my 13-page Introduction to the translation of GA20 already in page proofs and asked for a drastic shortening by deletion of the interpretive sentences, without specifying which these were (he knows very little English). In my absence from the country, Indiana University Press proceeded to shorten the Introduction for me down to a 6-page Foreword, and, without my authorization, forthwith sent that castrated version to Herr Heidegger for his approval. The overseas package that brought the same version to me came without Herr Heidegger's letter specifying the exact nature of the requested changes... and without notifying the that this new draft was already in Herrmann Heidegger's hands for approval. By the time I received his original letter of censorship, originally withheld from me, he had already approved the shortened version done for me without my authorization. Shortly after this Foreword written by several hands appeared in print, against my express wishes appended with my name, I repudiated its authorship and requested that it not be reprinted. It has since been replaced by an even more truncated “Publisher's Foreword” devoid of the most essential caveats to the serious reader of this stretch of Heidegger's Denkweg in translation. As in the hardback edition, the reader of this paperback edition from Indiana UP is once again not informed of Hermann Heidegger's Imprimatur, let alone made aware of who the Censor Deputatis is and who intoned the Nihil Obstat (“Nothing stands in the way, let it be printed!”), as is the time-honored convention in such matters.43 That this turn of events might well be against both the letter and spirit of what Heidegger himself wished is indicated by the recurrence of the phrase “without any prior censorship (Vorzensur) whatsoever” (twice) in Elfride Heidegger's testimonial of January 1977. One might also recall the reason Heidegger himself cites for his resignation, in 1941, from the scholarly committee on Nietzsche's critical edition, “as the propaganda ministry claimed for itself the (right of) imprimatur.”44

The only specific change in the original Introduction demanded by Oberst Heidegger was a sentence in which I stated: “In conformity with the wishes of the Heidegger family, I have sought to restrict translator's notes to only the most essential aids to the reader.” Colonel Heidegger (in his letter dated 19 Nov. 1984) asserted that this sentence “must read (muß heißen) ‘In conformity with the instructions of Martin Heidegger’.” Since I never had the privilege of receiving any instructions from Martin Heidegger himself, nor received or found (in an exhaustive search of archives all over the world, I might add) any documentation in Heidegger's hand or with Heidegger's signature that verified or even intimated such detailed instructions regarding translation, now issued almost 9 years after the fact of his death, or any other communication to that effect by any other medium, be it ethereal or technological Gestell, I in good conscience had to reject this change. In the end, Indiana UP, ever in search of compromise, dropped the sentence entirely from the Foreword it published.At least one did not join the chorus of a propaganda ministry zealously seeking to perpetuate its Ersatzprinzipien by recruiting other voices to “repeat” it for them.

By now, the metamorphosis from Father to Son is virtually complete and infinitely reversible at will, as all can see in the Third Directive dated 20 July 1984, which is simply signed “Heidegger.” A derisory Derrideanism can easily cavort in the field opened by this disseminated signature, as well as by the dissemination of roles between the legal and the “scientific” authorization of the use of this name indecidably divided between Hermann and Herr von Herrmann.45 But Mehring suggests a more sinister phenomenon at work here. The posthumous “ipse dixit” appeal to endless conversations with Heidegger, supplied at will according to the occasion or need for anew precedent/criterion or for one more argumentum ad baculum, has evoked the call for a definitive Ausgabe letzter Stimme of Heidegger's “table talks,” in order to fix once and for all for posterity and completion all of these criterion setting events of the oral tradition of the Holy Family. When I wrote a few ironic lines to that effect,46 I actually had Luther's table talks in mind, and by extension Jesus at the last Supper. But Mehring associates them with Hitler's table talks, which apparently were automatically taken as “acts of sovereignty” by his trusted henchmen seated at the “table of power.” And the sheer fact of their privileged “access to the power-holder (Machthaber = ‘dictator’)” in turn gave these underlings the power, simply on the purported “say of the Fuhrer,” to rescind, not to say arbitrarily interpret, the written constitutional law.47 Could it be that the “wish of my father,” which through sheer repetition appears to assume the mythic authority of an eternal essence, is but a thinly disguised Führerprinzip in the mind of Herr Oberst Heidegger? At any rate.there are some strange paradigms of command and obedience, authority and responsibility, alien to the American mind (I hope), that are at work in the continuing issuance of directives “in the name of the father,” as we shall shortly see in some further developments of the “Heidegger Case,” in its editorial department (Redaktion).

Scholarly malpractice. All signs indicate that the GA was ill-prepared for its public debut in 1975-76. A glance at the sequence of prospectuses at this time (in the Documentarium) already reveals a pattern of erratic change and growth reminiscent of a bad weed, a pattern that is still discernible to the keen eye up to the present day. If Heidegger had a plan for the GA, it was quite global in character, and now called for implementation by an experienced planner versed in the details of the “100 cartons” delivered to Marbach at the end of 1975. There was no such person. in October 1976, Marbach received a 5-year grant from the DFG for the position of a “scientist” to order and catalogue the Heidegger papers. Prof. Dr. Joachim W. Storck, Germanist und Literaturwissenschaftler, assumed that responsibility.48

In the meantime, everyone involved learned their piecemeal roles “on the job,” so to speak, or in Heideggerian jargon, “unterwegs.” The route has proven to be erratic, the errors legion, the quality control woefully inadequate. To begin with, one first made do with the list of courses and seminars compiled by Bill Richardson in 1962 strictly from the university catalogues. This list of titles has had to be corrected and amended (e.g. KNS 1919) as the work of archival cataloguing gradually brought new detail to light, a revisionary process that is by no means yet complete. To begin with the first such change, GA21, announced as “Logik (Aristoteles)” in the first two prospectuses to distinguish it from “Logik (Leibniz)” (GA26), finally appeared in early 1976 under the title Logic: The Question of Truth at the explicit request of Heidegger himself, perhaps the last editorial decision that he made concerning the GA. GA26 appeared in 1978 under the more cumbersome title The Metaphysically Incipient Grounds of Logic That Start From Leibniz that Held had found as a division title in his manuscript. Such changes have been legion over the years, and more are in the offing. For example, all of the prospectuses have announced WS 1923-24 (GA17) under the title “The Beginning of Modern Philosophy” and SS 1924 (GA18) as “Aristotle: Rhetoric,” while extant transcripts entitle them “Introduction to Phenomenological Research” and “Ground Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy” respectively, titles that are more apt for the content of these courses.

Double volume numbers have become one indication that something has gone awry in the planning process: by the latest count there are four such doublets. The initial announcement in the prospectus of April 1984 of the specific plan to publish the earliest Freiburg courses, beginning with two 1919 courses as GA56 and GA57, completely omits the all-important breakthrough course of Kriegnotsemester 1919 (after all, it was not onRichardson's list), even though it was already being publicly discussed at Heidegger conferences. It was hastily published in 1987 as the error-ridden GA56/57, along with the two courses of mid-1919, one of them in the form of a student transcript (a violation of the ‘principle’ of Heidegger's “last hand”). But let us merely note the most glaring faux pas occurring to date in the planning of such volumes. In 1983, “after thorough research by the estate administrator, Dr. Hermann Heidegger,” it was officially announced that the course of SS 1929 scheduled for GA29, “Introduction to Academic Studies,” “was not only not held, but also never worked out in the form of a manuscript”: ergo GA29/30 (here citing p. 537). In the same year, a letter by Herbert Marcuse from 1929was published telling of his excitement over a Freiburg course bearing precisely that title. Soon after, a partial transcript of this course surfaced in the Marcuse Archive in Frankfurt, and more recently a complete transcript of it byway of Japan.49 It is now to be hoped that further “thorough research” will produce at least one transcript of this important course that could be published as an appendix to GA28.

This is but one example of how the hegemonic tendency toward private monopoly and absolute control has been repeatedly thwarted by the drive toward public exposure generated simply by the interest in the “Heidegger case,” of which the Farias firestorm is afar too noisy example. Quieter archival examples will in the end probably generate more light on Heidegger's life and thought. Heidegger's “paper trail” extends far beyond the “100 cartons” deposited in Marbach, being scattered in archives public and private throughout Germany, and beyond. This has only escalated with technological advances far beyond the “photostat” of Hannah Arendt's day. It is to the credit of the Deutsches Literaturarchiv in Marbach to have asserted its contractual rights and its public obligations against the opposition of the Heidegger family in order to permit the study by interested scholars of Heidegger's manuscripts after they have been edited for publication.50 Most other archives are at least equally generous. In retrospect, the wisest decision that Heidegger made with respect to his GA was to deposit his literary “remains” in a public archive.

The enormity of the crime perpetrated on the scholarly public was already evident upon examination of the documents underlying the error-ridden GA20. Despite this initial public exposure, the offense would grow into a self-perpetuating “monstrosity” (to borrow a word voiced in certain philosophical circles), seemingly an uncontrollable growth, with the further pursuit of Heidegger's paper trail. But how to characterize the festering “thing” unraveled by a so-called “archive detective”? A scholarly atrocity? A sham or hoax? In the recent rash of white-collar crimes, a pernicious scam or swindle founded on sheer greed? A black comedy of blunders reaching slapstick proportions, rooted accordingly in banal stupidity? I have had occasion more than once to point out to my German colleagues the blatant contradiction-in-terms of the phrase “edition without interpretation” dubbed posthumously into Heidegger's panhermeneutical voice. “Natürlich ist das blödsinnig,” was the typical reply to my remarks regarding this institutional ventriloquy. But no one said it publicly, like the “dirty little secret” that the Emperor was wearing no clothes.

Error-ridden editions with error-ridden titles governed by error-ridden principles, policies, and practices: a case of thoroughgoing scholarly malpractice. By 1989, GA20 with 100 errors exposed, GA55 with 80 errors, GA56/57 with 50. Many of them real “howlers.” Rehearsing some of the choicest of these in order to examine the inescapably interpretive labor of both editors and translators, thereby exposing the “apocryphal”51 character of the posthumously announced editorial principles, I concluded a talk to an international audience of Heidegger scholars in 1989, in the spirit of the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, with an appeal to the scholarly Tricolor:52

1) A thorough going and systematic checking for errors (Überprüfung) in all GA-volumes, past, present, and future.

2) The freedom of all editors and translators, as the acknowledged first interpreters of their particular text, to elucidate in detail how they have interpreted that text. “Translators, as the authorities with first-hand knowledge of their particular language space, should have the freedom to compose an introduction without having to undergo the humiliating procedure of submitting it to the German redaction before publication.”

3) Openness on the part of that redaction by publication of Heidegger's Anweisungen, the editorial Leitsätze, and the entire set of notes for the fragmentary Foreword from which the GA-motto “Ways - not Works” was drawn.

In the discussion that followed this talk, the call for freedom and openness (glasnost in my talk, a good Heideggerian word) was ignored. Only the first of these cries from the barricades was addressed. Herr von Herrmann promised that such checking would indeed be carried out in all future editions before they went to press. But in a letter to me on 1 November 1990, Hermann Heidegger reneges on this promise: “A Gesamtausgabe in the form that my father wanted it cannot be without error. Each individual editor, according to the will of my father, bears the responsibility. With the control and supervision of the GA charged to me, it would exceed my workforce to compare every nearly finished volume once again completely with the autograph.”53

The Nuremberg defense. What are we to make of such a response to the most minimal of scholarly concerns, just getting the text right in the first place for its huge international readership and concomitant translation, especially in the face of gross violations of that minimum desideratum? It seems that Herr Heidegger is no scholar, infected with the sense and concerns of the scholar, despite his hand at editing a pair of volumes (mostly of previously published works). Which is most unfortunate, since he claims to be in charge of an indigenously scholarly enterprise, avast one at that, promising to yield some 120 scholarly volumes (not counting the increasing number being published outside of the GA), moreover claiming the right of imprimatur over every last one of them, claiming to know and make the distinction (clearly a quasi-scholarly one) between fact and interpretation to the point of censoring the latter in favor of the former. For that vast enterprise, he must hire a horde of scholars to work for the family business. According to what criteria of selection? Who is responsible for deciding on the proper qualifications for the job, so that another error-ridden disaster on the German front does not occur? Or is that not the primary concern? The “cost effective” concern clearly announces itself once again in Herr Heidegger's latest response to the scandal of editions.54 “Family values” of the most mundane kind take precedence over scholarly values. One could almost gather from the response that Martin Heidegger actually wanted (or at least fully expected) corrupt editions, instead of being in dread of a fate akin to Hegel's.

And when it does happen (as it undoubtedly will, without the requisite quality control)? Then it is the entire responsibility of the individual editor. This is clearly a reference, as we now know from our Documentarium, to Elfride Heidegger's testimonial of January 1977, which underlines “OWN responsibility” as the existential thrownness of a Heidegger editor. The pay is good but the working conditions are terrible, on the one hand because of the interior intimidation instilled by the Leitsatze enforced by the imminent threat of the Imprimatur, despite all the talk of “no prior censorship” in conjunction with that document. And on the other hand, despite the document's definition of a committee procedure specifying the selection of “appropriate younger scholars” for the work, if that scholar in the end stumbles, he is left on his own, out on the proverbial limb, as we say, “slowly twisting, turning in the wind.” I was a firsthand witness to this fate with respect to the editor of GA56/57, as a committee member inveighed against his inability to read the old German handwriting or Sütterlin script—a not uncommon problem among young Germans‐as a source of many of the reading errors, with nary a hint of the fact that he had had a hand in selecting and employing that “suitable younger scholar” to begin with. And therefore no sense of responsibility at the top for the shoddy work delivered to them, which translators are then commanded, by a strange twist of ‘logic’, to regard as impeccable and invincible Holy Writ, in a topsy-turvy world of thought control without quality control.

And no hint whatsoever of the Truman Doctrine of higher administration (“The buck stops here”); instead the Nuremberg Defense (“We are only following orders”). And yet there is no such thing as an official Will and Testament of Martin Heidegger RegardingHis Gesamtausgabe, as many have concluded from the statements emanating from the top. No such document exists... which naturally explains why it has never been produced in the face of repeated appeals for openness, glasnost. The sheer repetition of the phrase “Der Wille meines Vaters” is a smoke screen designed to create a tissue of protected constructs placed beyond the pale of discussion or debate simply out of deference to the authority of the deceased Master. This ghostly presence of the Father has created the fiction of the mens auctoris dominating the GA, like Arabic philosophy's agent intellect holding sway over the transmissions within its universe, or worse, a Führerprinzip vestigially lodged in the minds of subalternates in order to shield themselves from taking ultimate responsibility for their own deeds, and misdeeds. The screen, the tissue, has long worn thin. What is being insulated from scholarly critique and evaluation is a commercially minded family-run operation‐somewhat like a “mom-and-pop store” selling “damaged goods” on a military base‐conducted with amateurish incompetence and militant ignorance of scholarly standards and etiquette.

But the real monstrosity is in having allowed, in the face of such tactics, even our translations to be dragged down to the same amateurish level. Up to the present day, the English translations of the GA continue to live in a peculiarly perverted world (Hegel's verkehrte Welt) in which our translator's Forewords are written primarily to please only two readers, Hermann Heidegger and Klostermann, neither of whom know much English! Lest some Heideggerians through inuring habit forget what a verkehrte Welt they inhabit,they might take note that scholars and presses new to the Heidegger game (e.g. Blackwell, Northwestern) feel assaulted and undergo a sense of insult upon initial receipt of the “Hinweis für alle Übersetzer,” learning soon enough that Hinweis here does not translate as “hint or suggestion,” but as marching orders, the directives and mandates of a hard-line, military- minded administration.


Out of this Pandora's box of problems,we might highlight for future consideration several of the most authentic philosophical problems that take us to the heart of the matter of the reception of the GA.

The posthumously fabricated principles “Edition of the Last Hand” and “Edition without Interpretation” are to be regarded not merely as uncharacteristic of Heidegger but as thoroughly unheideggerian, as gross and devastating fictions totally at odds with Heidegger's lifelong thought. By contrast, the motto for the GA, “Ways - not Works,” draws on the earliest, deepest, and most enduring impulses of his thinking. But what is away? A work? Why in the plural? How are they related? How to determine where one way ends and another begins? What is the nature of the “field” that the plurality of ways traverses? in addition to the sine-quanon of reliable workmanship, what can an editor/translator do in the construction of his text to promote the reading principle “Ways - not Works”?

One thing that can be done, in defiance of the nonsensical ban against it, is the construction of an in-depth index of the leading words of the individual work in the context of other works, after the models of Feick and Hofstadter. For the way-character of Heidegger's thought is essentially tied to such leading words, early on methodologically identified as “provisional/formal indications” which come and go as the paths shift and strike a new direction: a triple-sensed intentionality (1920), being-in-the-world (1923), to-be (Zu-sein, 1925), ex‐sistence (1926), transcendence (1927); the leading words of the tradition, always shifting in sense like “Satz” and “Grund”; poetically signing words, the topoi of a new beginning Heidegger's peculiar genius and forte lies in his ability to expose the “root” concepts that “seed” a field, his goal is “to preserve the force of the most elemental words in which Dasein expresses itself” (SZ 220). An index to trace the “ways of words” thereby addresses itself directly to the hortatory thrust of the GA-maxim, “Ways - not Works.”

From the first publisher's prospectuses we know that the old Heidegger hesitated in publishing the lecture courses of his first Freiburg period (1916-23), reserving judgment for a later date whether to publish them as a supplement to the Second Division of the GA. Now that the decision has been made in posthumum, undoubtedly for commercial rather than philosophical reasons and certainly not archival ones (the documents are in disarray, when they exist), what are we to make of this alien cluster of early courses in this unchronological supplement that follows the summer course of 1944 (in the error-ridden GA55)? What is the philosophical reason behind Heidegger's hesitation? From a series of conversations that Heidegger had with Otto Pöggeler in 1959-63 (first reported in his articles of 1977-83), we know that Heidegger himself dated the beginning of his authentic opus from the watershed year of 1923, regarding the works before that as “mere juvenalia.” For in that period of exegeting Aristotle's works, Heidegger had a “flash of genius” (Geistesblitz) that determined his path for the rest of his life: οὐσία for the Greeks means constant presence, and so is oriented toward only one dimension of time, whereas ἀλήθεια as un-concealment is much more subtly tensed. What then are we to do with this alien body of "mere juvenalia" deliberately separated by a gulf from the authentic opus within the GA? How are these earliest ways to be read within the collection of ways that make up the GA?55

By way of the GA-motto, “Ways - not Works” and the chronological principle, the construction of the GA is overtly expressed in the register of time and the temporal field (Lichtung) defined by this collection of works which traverse this field as ways. But can this temporal field of a GA perhaps also be understood in the equiprimordial register of truth as unconcealment, such that the “institutional errancy”56 of family, publishers, editors and translators that in fact has manifested itself in the erratic path of the GA can itself be justified in Heideggerian terms, as what Heidegger himself in fact anticipated? Was all of this human-all-too‐human venality perhaps after all anticipated by the old Heidegger himself, that he would fall victim to the deep structure of his own conception of untruth as erratic? Not, to be sure, the gross violation of the factual truths of conformity in the erroneous transcriptions of badly wrought editions. Heidegger in his lifelong editorial praxis was too philologically fastidious to condone the hermeneutically inept products that have in fact been delivered to the reader. But beyond the sine-qua-non context of verification, there is the context of discovery by way of the freedom of the truth of the φρόνησις” (Entschlossenheit) of editors and translators, with the authenticity of the texts being contingent upon their authenticity. Heidegger's fourth handwritten Direction,coupled with his expressed fear of suffering the fate of Hegel's first posthumous edition, suggest the anticipation of at least this “institutional errancy.” Perhaps in his own sly way also the family coverups and the publisher's greed at the more banal levels of errancy, which might well include Heidegger's own blind spots, mental blocks, and phobias, not to speak of the failing memory of old age.

What sort of a reader did Heidegger want for his GA? The question is raised in reverential tones by von Herrmann57 on the basis of the fragments to the unwritten Foreword to the GA which he does not deign to share with us in their entirety, and by Mehring in a more playful Dionysian tone. One could perhaps not wish for a better contrast. Heidegger's own thoughts on the master-disciple (teacher-student) relation, often understood in terms of leaders and followers in the understanding of being within a university that reflects the nation, are scattered throughout his Denkweg, and so must be indexically traced from the earliest Blochmann letters (1917) to understanding as obedience (Hörigkeit: 1925), the solicitous being-with of a classroom (Johanna A. was still in attendance in WS 1925-26: GA21 223ff), the thinker as Führer (1929-34), the teacher-student parallels (Husserl‑Heidegger, Heidegger-Kuki) in the Dialogue with the Japanese (1959), etc. The GA itself, centered on the “remains” of orally read autographs and their corresponding auditor's transcripts, is thereby questioned anew in its vehicle of transmission, its very presentation and its setting (the old German university), its palpable archival flesh and elemental atmosphere, is the desired GA-reader like the perennial auditors of courses ever present at the Old Aula long after their youth, those “inverse cripples” who are “all ears” attached to small thin human stalks, yet marvelously equipped to take voluminous notes which the Great One at times deigns to correct and even to preserve for posterity, His own posterity? For He too is “all ears,” even now still listening for the echoes of His own voice, the voice of Being.58


1. Reinhard Mehring, Heideggers Überlieferungsgeschick: Eine dionysische Selbstinszenierung (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 1992).

2. By way of Derridean undecidability, this core element of Heidegger's grammaontology is belatedly and gradually receiving its lost due. Cf. John Llewelyn, The Middle Voice of Ecological Conscience: A Chiasmic Reading of Responsibility in the Neighborhood of Levinas, Heidegger and Others (New York: St. Martin's, 1991).

3. Daniel Dahlstrom, “Heidegger's Last Word,” Review of Metaphysics 41 (March 1988): 589-606, esp. p. 605. By the same author in an earlier German version, “Hermeneutische Fragen an Heideggers Gesamtausgabe,” Philosophisches Jahrbuch 94 (1987): 189-196, esp. p. 195.

4. Jürgen Busche, “Wie lesbar darf ein Philosoph sein?” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (= FAZ), October 21, 1976; Thomas Sheehan, “Caveat lector: The New Heidegger,” The New Yorker Review of Books, December 4, 1980, 39-41, esp. p. 40; Mehring, p. 141.

5. “The manuscripts that are kept here (in Meßkirch) proved helpful to me, though some also turned our to be superseded; but otherwise there is a mountain that is being stored here, which must probably remain a ‘Nachlaß.’” Letter from Heidegger to Boss on June 30, 1955: Martin Heidegger, Zollikoner Seminare: Protokolle - Gespräche - Briefe, edited by Medard Boss (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1987), p. 315.

6. Letter from Glenn Gray to Hannah Arendt on January 5, 1968, Hannah Arendt Papers, Library of Congress.

7. Mehring, p. 141. Concern over the destruction of his manuscripts had obsessed Heidegger since the war years. “He entrusted me with a huge pile of manuscripts because of the danger of bombs and allowed me to read them.” So Georg Picht in G. Neske and E. Kettering, Martin Heidegger and National Socialism: Questions and Answers, translated by Lisa Harries (New York: Paragon, 1990), p. 165.

8. Marbacher Chronik (Marbach: Deutsche Schillergesellschaft, 1979). p. 199. Regarding the “100 cartons,” see Ingrid Kussmaul, Die Nachlässe und Sammlungen des Deutschen Literaturarchivs Marbach am Neckar: Ein Verzeichnis (Marbach: Deutsche Schillergesellschaft, 1983), p. 181-183.

9. Four months after his stroke, Heidegger writes to Boss on September 8, 1970: “I have limited my mental work (Denkarbeit) and am busy with the ordering of my manuscripts.An assistant of Professor Fink (F.W. von Hermann) will help me in the coming months. in addition, I shall substantially reduce my library” (Zollikoner Seminaire, p. 360). “In October 1973, Heidegger gave in to the pressure from his son. Klosterman was called." (Busche, FAZ, 21 Sept. 1978). Another letter providing insight into family conditions is Arendt to Gray on August 16, 1975 (cf. the appended Documentarium, end of Part Two).

10. Part One of the Appended Documentarium. The reader may consult these prospectuses for details on the GA volumes cited here simply by volume number.

11. F.W. von Hermann, “Ein Denkweg wird sichtbar gemacht,” FAZ, 26 September 1974.

12. Part Two of the Appended Documentarium contains the Leitsatze (Guiding Principles), Anweisungen (Directions), and related documents regarding the Richtlinien (Guidelines).

13. This editorial devastation inflicted upon the original chronological principle was first reported in Theodore Kisiel, “On the Way to Being and Time: Introduction to the Translation of Heidegger's Prolegomena zur Geschichte des Zeitbegriffs,” Research in Phenomenology 15 (1985): 197. This Translator's Introduction, mandated by NEH guidelines, was originally intended for publication with my translation of History of the concept of Time: Prolegomena (Indiana UP, 1985), but was forced under separate cover because of the paramilitary assaults on scholarship by Heidegger's literary executors. The so-called “Publisher's Foreword” to the paperback edition (1992) is derelict in not conveying this warning regarding chronological distortion to the interested reader.

14. von Herrmann, FAZ, 26 Sept. 1974.

15. Petra Jaeger,"Zur Vorgehensweise bei der Edition von Heideggers Vorlesungen," paper presented at the 1982 Heidegger Conference at Loyola University of Chicago.

16. Günter Neske, Erinnerung an Heidegger (Neske: Pfullingen, 1977), p.50f.

17. Hans-Georg Gadamer, “Der eine Weg Martin Heideggers,” Gesammemlte Werke, vol. 3 (Tübingen: Mohr, 1987), p. 417.

18. Christoph Jamme, “Editionspolitik: Zur ‘Freundesvereinsausgabe’ der Werke G. W. F. Hegels,” Zeitschrift fur philosophische Forschung 38 (1984): 83-99. Wolfgang Henckmann, “Fichte - Schelling - Hegel," Buchstabe und Geist, ed. Walter Jaeschke et al. (Hamburg: Meiner, 1987), pp. 101-115.

19. See the newspaper articles by Busche and Sheehan cited above.

20. Cf. the above-cited collection of Buchstahe und Geist, which bears the subtitle, “Essays toward the Transmission and Edition of Philosophical Texts,” and was commissioned by the “Working Group onPhilosophical Editions of the General Society for Philosophy in Germany.”

21. Arthur C. Danto, Nietzsche as Philosopher (New York: Macmillan, 1965), p. 27.

22. Heinz Frederick Peters, Zarathustra's Sister: The Case of Elisabeth and Frederich Nietzsche (New York: Crown, 1977), p. 12.

23. Walter Kaufmann, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (New York; Meridian Books, 1956), p. 17.

24. Ibid., p. 19. Also Peters, Zarathustra's Sister, pp. 119ff.

25. “Die ‘Ausgrabe letzter Hand’ ist ein Familienunternehmen...,” Mehring, p. 151. For Mehring's Nietzschean thesis, see his p. 9 and esp. chap. VI.

26. Hannah Arendt's letter to Glenn Gray on Aug. 16, 1975 (in the appended Documentarium, end of Part Two) is only one, albeit penetrating, example of documentation available in the archives providing a “behind the scenes” glimpse into Heidegger's family situation as well as his consequent ‘mentality.’ Regarding this archival trail, I have already had occasion to note, in my review of Neske and Kettering (eds.), Martin Heidegger and National Socialism (Canadian Philosophical Review XI, 5 (Oct 1991): 344) that “future philosophical biographers will have their hands full in deciphering the implicit connections of this scandal of error-ridden, mediocre editions of a wholly family-owned Gesamtausgabe with the Nazi and marital scandals.”

27. For example, Hans-Martin Saß's review of GA21 and 24 in Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Philosophie 3 (1977) 70-74. At the recent conference “On Critical Editing in Philosophy and Science” held at the Boston Colloquium for the Philosophy of Science, Saß has recorded the sharp reactions to his review that he received from Elfride Heidegger and Han-Georg Gadamer.

28. According to the testimonial of Elfride Heidegger of 10 January 1977 (Documentarium, Part Two) on “Further Determinations of MH...”: “In all conversations regarding the publication of the lecture courses within the Collected Edition of his writings, Heidegger stressed that no committee should be formed, no coeditor be named, and no form of prior censorship (Vorzensur) whatsoever be erected for such publications.”

29. von Hermann, FAZ, 26 Sept. 1974 (vis-a-vis n. 28 above, it is noteworthy that von Herrmann identifies himself as “Coeditor of the Heidegger-GA” in this newspaper article). According to the testimony of Heidegger's two other publishers, Neske and Niemeyer, in regard to early plans for a “common consortium” (Busche) of all three publishers for his GA, Heidegger at that time did in fact have a critical edition in mind.

30. So in Arendt's letter of Aug. 16, 1975, which also gives us hints on the circumstances and “state of mind” (Befindlichkeit) which may have prevented the old Heidegger from ever finishing that Foreword.

31. Friedrich Wilhelm von Hermann, "Die Edition der Vorlesungen Heideggers in seiner Gesamtausgabe letzter Hand," Freiburger Universitätsblätter 78 (Dezember 1982): 85-102. Instead, we are treated to an unimportant facsimile of a folio page from the course-autograph of WS 1929-30, at the point that divides the two sections of the article: I = pp. 85-95, II = pp. 98-102.

32. Ibid., p. 90 (Anweisung Nr. 3), p. 91 (Anw. 1) , p. 92 (Anw. 2), p. 95 (Anw. 4).

33. Ibid., p. 102. The only evidence that von Herrmann provides for the claim that Heidegger wanted an “edition without interpretation” is the anecdote of his presenting the three-page typescript of his Postscript to GA24 to Heidegger “for his appraisal and approval,” only to have the latter remark that “it was almost too long” (p. 101). As anecdotal evidence goes, however, Heidegger meant of course only the kind of post script that von Herrmann had written. That it was made a precedent of all future postscripts goes against Heidegger's longstanding sense of hermeneutic tact, as laid down in his fourth Anweisung. The recently published thoroughgoing Postscript to GA19 portends, hopefully,a more enlightened future. Marion Heinz's Postscript to GA44 is also noteworthy in providing us with a documented background history of Heidegger's involvement with the critical edition, and so the archive, of Nietzsche from 1935 to 1942.

34. This has already been done in Theodore Kisiel, “Edition und Übersetzung: Unterwegs von Tatsachen zu Gedanken, von Werken zu Wegen,” Dietrich Papenfuss & Otto Pöggeler, Zur philosophischen Aktualität Heideggers, Vol. 3: Im Spiegel der Welt: Sprache, Übersetzung, Auseinandersetzung (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1992), pp. 89-107.

35. Freiburger Universitätsblätter 78 (Dec. 1982), p. 11, n. 6. The general editor of the issue, which bore the overall title “Edition and Interpretation,” was the Germanist Gerhard Neumann, who deserves a footnote in Heidegger's biography: as a student, he had chauffeured Paul Celan to and from Todtnauberg in the course of the latter's visit to Heidegger's cabin.

36. Statement of 10 January 1977 entitled “Weitere Bestimmungen...” (in the appended Documentarium, Part Two).

37. The first page in Part Three of the Documentarium.

38. All of the documentation for the period 1982-84 is to be found in Part Three of the Documentarium. The fact that the coincidental appearance of the French and English translations of GA-volumes in 1982 triggered the repressive action that occurred in this period through 1984 stems from a conversation with F. W. von Herrmann.

39. Information drawn from a private communication from Hartmut Buchner, German advisor for the Japanese translations.

40. Documentarium, Part One.

41. This letter dated July 15, 1984, is in Part Three of the Documentarium.

42. Martin Heidegger, Frau Dr. Hildegard Feick, der langiährigen getreuen Mitarbeiterin zum Gedächtnis (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1974). Initially published without pagination as a commissioned printing for limited circulation, this important Nachruf has now been republished in the fourth reworked edition of Feick's Index zu Heideggers 'Sein und Zeit' (Tübingen: Niemeyer,4 1991). Accordingly, Reinhard Mehring's review of the latter rightly raises anew the philosophical issue - independent of the cost issue - of the relation of indexes to Heidegger's thought: cf. Freiburger Universitätsblätter 113 (1991): 122f.

43. Martin Heidegger, History of the Concept of Time: Prolegomena, translated by Theodore Kisiel (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1985, paperback ed. 1992). The originally planned Translator's Introduction, written according to the standards mandated by NEH funding, was forced under separate cover because of the paramilitary assaults on scholarship by Heidegger's literary executors. See my "On the Way to Being and Time: Introduction to the Translation of Heidegger's Prolegomena zur Geschichte des Zeitbegriffs," Research in Phenomenology 15 (1985): 193‑219. The shortened 13 page introduction in page proofs (i still have them), meant to accompany the translation itself, in structure and content (the expurgated half briefly explains my translation decisions for the most basic terms of the course) is virtually identical to the 14-page Translator's introduction (sic!) by Reginald Lilly for Heidegger's The Principle of Reason (Indiana UP, 1991), pp. vii-xxi, which apparently escaped the censor's scissors because the publisher of Der Satz vom Grund happened to be Neske instead of Klostermann. Unfortunately, Indiana UP did not take advantage of the temporary reprieve from the censor's hand by including page numbers (Reg still has them in his computer) in the two otherwise extensive Glossaries to this translation. But this once again only exposes the perverted world (Hegel's verkehrte Welt) of our Heidegger scholarship, in which our Translator's Forewords are primarily written to please only two readers. Hermann Heidegger and Klostermann, neither of whom knows much English!
I have gone into this sorry chapter in German-American relations in 1984-85 in some detail, because the committee officially charged by the Heidegger Conference in 1984 to act in its name in this matter never issued a final report to that Conference on the results and upshot of its representation of that institution in this matter. For there is here a whole knot of thorny issues relating to institutional relations in the future, such as (to name just one) the impact of this denouement upon NEH funding, prospects for which are directly tied to the scholarly quality and apparatus of the editions and translations proposed for such funding.

44. Heidegger's letter to Otto Pöggeler on August 16, 1960. See Otto Pöggeler, Heidegger und die hermeneutische Philosophie (Freiburg and Munich: Alber, 1983), p. 39.

45. John van Buren has begun this line of disseminative critique of the "Copyright Trust" of the Limited Ink of the Heidegger Corporation in his “Heidegger's Auto-biographies,” Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 23 (Oct. 1992): 201-21.

46. “Edition und Übersetzung,” p. 103.

47. Mehring refers to the works of the political philosopher Carl Schmitt to cultivate this insight (p. 152, n. 28).

48. Marbacher Chronik, p. 206. See also the letter from Arendt to Gray on August 16, 1975, on the concession that "family values" had to make to scholarly values to acquire and fund this "scientific" position at Marbach.

49. Seinosuke Yuasa, “Heidegger im Vorlesungssaal,” Japan und Heidegger, ed. Hartmut Buchner (Sigmaringen: Jan Thorbecke, 1989), pp. 111‑126. Marcuse's letter to M. Beck from Freiburg on May9, 1929, first appeared in French translation in Michel Haar's Herne-Edition on Martin Heidegger (Paris: Heme, 1983),pp. 163-5.

50. The first “Provisional Regulation of the Use of the Martin Heidegger Archive at Marbach,” dated 10 October 1986 (it took that long to negotiate an agreement already approved by Heidegger himself), distinguishes between the restricted archive owned by the Heidegger family, where the underlying documents become available only after the GA-volumes appear in print, and the by-and-large unrestricted Heidegger holdings under other ownerships also in Marbach. Even the GA editors have sometimes not been informed of their right of access to the original holdings, with devastating results, since they must decipher Heidegger's minuscule handwriting, with layers of marginalia in variously tinted pens, and draft their editions from colorless photocopies of the manuscripts.

51. Mehring's word characterizing the posthumous editorial statements made about the GA that refer back to the “command” (Geheiß), the “bidding of the Master” (p. 140), the Will of the Author. “Apocryphal”: a slippery archival word, ranging in strength from the suspect authenticity of the “not canonical” to the totally “fictitious.” “How does the edition of the individual works refer back to the ‘will of the author’? How does it stand with the construction of that bond of the will (of volumes bound by his will = Willensband), which guarantee its author dominion over his work? More closely regarded, that bond proves to some extent to be apocryphal. Heidegger's Anweisungen themselves remain unpublished, their promulgation by von Herrmann proves to be unauthorized, without authority” (p. 151).

52. “Edition und Übersetzung,” p. 105. To situate the context of this talk, note the subtitle of the volume in which it was published: Zur philosophischen Aktualität Heideggers: Symposium der Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung vom 24-28, April 1989 in Bonn-Bad Godesberg. See n. 34.

53. “Fehlerlos kann eine Gesamtausgabe, wie sie mein Vater in dieser Form gewünscht hat, nicht sein. Die jeweiligen Herausgeber tragen nach dem Willen meines Vaters die Verantwortung. Bei der mir aufgetragenen Steuerung und Betreuung der GA würde es meine Arbeitskraft übersteigen, jeden fertig werdenden Band selbst nochmals völlig mit der Handschrift zu vergleichen.”

54. In my experience as a foreigner and novice at reading the old handwriting, it has normally taken me only several days to compare an entire GA-edition against the corresponding manuscripts, at least enough to determine the level of reliability of an edition, leaving me confident that it is or is not marred by a high frequency of questionable readings. The cost of such a labor is therefore minimal compared to the years of embarrassment and doubt of a suspect publication in which the errors seem to crop up like rabbits upon repeated scrutiny. Economic considerations cut both ways: we pay good money these days for books that we expect to be of high quality. And I am surprised that Hermann Heidegger himself, seemingly obsessed by what his father wanted, is not yet embarrassed enough to take corrective action after all these years of inferior products: “Martin Heidegger's ideas are too important for this mediocre level of quality” (“Edition und Übersetzung,” p. 102).

55. For a first approximation in a larger context of development, see Theodore Kisiel, The Genesis of Heidegger's Being and Time (Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: The University of California Press, 1993).

56. The phrase comes from Bill Richardson, in a commentary on my edition critique at the recent Boston Colloquium on the Philosophy of Science

57. Freiburger Universitätsblätter (1982): 99f.

58. Zarathustra's “ear as big as a man,” made paradigmatic in Derrida's deconstruction of the classical university, provides a particularly novel perspective on the “GA as a philosophical problem.” Jacques Derrida, The Ear of the Other: Otobiography, Transference, Translation, ed. Christie McDonald, tr. Peggy Kamuf (New York: Schocken, 1985), p. 3.

Theodore Kisiel - Heidegger's Gesamtausgabe as a Philosophical Problem: Prolegomena
Original in Heidegger Circle Proceedings 1993.