To what do historicist critics refer when they refer to literary texts? Surely to more than the author’s manuscript or to the limited run of a single edition, frozen in time as it leaves the bindery. But if we expand our sights from the moment of production to take in the history of the distribution and reception of literary texts, we run into a host of problems that threaten the coherence of our critical narratives: temporal lags between production and reception, the mediation of other texts, individuals, and institutions, the disjunction between the ideal text and the material book, between the generality of genres, rhetorics, and forms of address, and specific communities of readers. Can a thick description of a historical “moment” be defined by a text that is untimely, one that is reissued or reread, recited, reprinted, illocal (imported from elsewhere), or revived from the dead by association with other texts — that is, one that does not originate with the culture in question, but is repeated? Or does the tendency of literary culture to circle back on itself threaten the unfolding of literary history? [McGill 20]