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From Latin interpolatio 'a change made here and there' from interpolare 'to give a new shape; insert; polish; falsify etc.'.

An interpolation is an addition that is introduced into the text either involuntarily or voluntarily, but was in the first place written not by accident but in an attempt to restore or otherwise improve the text.

Such a case is e.g., a marginal note, like a commentary or a gloss, that is accidentally introduced into the text itself during the copying, either instead of what it was supposed to explain or in addition to it. An interpolation may also consist in a deliberate introduction of any new elements (cf. copying of texts). The term is sometimes used also about deliberate changes in a text which has been modified for usage in the schools or which has been modified not only in its contents but also in its orthographic and grammatical form.


– Maas, Paul. 1960. Textkritik. 4th ed. Leipzig: Teubner. – 1st ed. 1927. || p. 12.
– Pöhlmann, Egert. 2003. “Textkritik und Texte im 19. Und 20. Jh.” In Egert Pöhlmann, Einführung in die Überlieferungsgeschichte und die Textkritik der Antiken Literatur: Mittelalter und Neuzeit, 137–182. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. || See pp. 147–148, 158, 168.
– Reynolds, Leighton Durham, and Nigel G. Wilson. 1974. Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press. || See pp. 14 f., 15, 205–207.
– West, Martin L. 1973. Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique Applicable to Greek and Latin Texts. Stuttgart: Teubner. || See pp. 16, 22 f., 115, 143 ff.

In other languages

DE: Interpolation
FR: interpolation
IT: interpolazione


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