This is certainly one of the most courageous and ambitious editorial projects to have been attempted for a long time, and one may be forgiven for wondering how many of us will be there to see the final volume, since the edition, which began in 2006, will run to at least 140 volumes. Fortunately, the volumes are not numbered consecutively all the way through, but divided into smaller groupings alongside the writers biography.
Editorially, the project can justly be described as exemplary, once the reader has been familiarized with the chosen method. It is described here as plain-text editing, developed by Robert H. Hirst for Mark Twains letters (I, 368); the aim is
to provide the reader with a highly reliable and readable edition. By including in the edited text cancellations, insertions, and other changes seen in the manuscripts and typescripts and by representing these manuscript details with similar ones in the typography, plain-text editing enables users to read the edited letters nearly as they would the originals, without having to reconstruct changes entirely by way of an apparatus or specially memorized editing marks or by having to decipher Jamess handwriting. By representing textual details of the letters rather than the letter writers final intentions only, plain-text editing enables readers to see when and where in a letter James changed his mind or altered an emphasis. (I, 369)