The study and the understanding of Anglo-Saxon history, literature and culture depends on the presentation of unique manuscripts as modern printed editions. This transformation raises problems of interpetation.
The reader studying a printed edition cannot know what the text is without some understanding of the editorial process by which the work came into being. How much, for example, of the language, punctuation and spacing has authorial foundation, and how much is scribal or editorial accretion? How much of the original manuscript context has been lost - and with it its share of the text's meaning - in the course of preparing the text for the printed form?