The present article proposes, as its successively developed tool of analysis, a combination of literary, theatre historical and manuscriptological approaches, which then reveal the extent to which the study of written artefacts may further our understanding of collaborative models of (literary) creation, analysed along with their corresponding practices. Authorship is often understood, on the one hand, as a discursively produced phenomenon – as an ensemble of attributes that are not only ascribed to any producer of literary texts, but are also demanded of them, and which, at the same time, are supposed to guarantee the quality of their literary ›products‹. By contrast, the present article focuses on a level of concrete practices at which, instead of a lone individual, a plurality of actors contributing to a literary text may be identified. This text, in turn, should be considered not as an inviolable work of art produced by a single entity but as an object of utility used by many, at least in those instances where it is functionally incorporated into a dynamic ensemble of technical, aesthetic and social requirements, norms and expectations, where, in other words, it becomes the basis for a theatre performance. As this article argues, the inclusive approach just described, as well as its consequences regarding questions of authorship and textual work, can be fully identified only in specific textual artefacts found at the centre of the eighteenth-century manuscript culture shaping the literary theatre of that time. Accordingly, the contrast between, on the one hand, discourses and practices (sketched more fully below) and the various understandings of authorship, on the other, can be located in historical terms: In the present article, it is sought out and analysed based on those stretches of history during which the various notions began to emerge with great formative power. In the case of the discourse of single authorship, this decisive phase is the Sturm und Drang period with its concurrent aesthetics of genius; the corresponding practice is that of a wholly literary theatre, already mentioned, which is founded on a dramatic text now considered binding; and the corresponding textual artefact is the prompt book, which adapts that textual foundation to the needs of a theatrical production (and which, at that time, is often the only book containing all of the dramatic text). Ultimately, this article is focused on the hypothesis that, upon closer consideration of the materiality of the textual artefact, the dramatic text, which usually is considered the work of a single auctorial consciousness, may reasonably prove a work of many hands. And indeed, various actors contribute, by different theatrical and manuscript practices, to the adaptation of the dramatic text to the conditions and requirements of the stage, without being placed, however, in a position of authorship comparable to that of the ›classic‹ author. More often than not, they remain unmarked and can only be differentiated – e. g., with regard to their hierarchical relationships – through an analysis of the artefacts themselves, their contexts of use and institutional framework. As this analysis suggests, prompt books in use were in a state of continuous revision, based on various intra- and extra-theatrical factors. Individual revisions include different kinds of corrections such as deletions, additions or pastings, as well as traditional elements of Western manuscript cultures or symbols and abbreviations specific to the theatre. It also becomes clear that the changes made in this way are by no means final but, being the material equivalent of theatrical and thus ephemeral processes, are only ›valid until revoked‹, i. e., they may be changed again at any time. These changes, which in the written record are usually effected by several hands (especially when a prompt book has been used for several productions), therefore could be considered as a kind of ›updates‹ on the original text, as theatre professionals keep a prompt book that is in use up to date. And even though such prompt books are standardised, to an extent, by the requirements of theatrical procedure, these updates individualise each written artefact which in turn exhibit both their revisions and their various dynamics in a two-tiered material performance. There are many reasons for introducing changes to the dramatic text. Aspects of theatrical practice may come into play, such as when there are fewer actors available than are needed to fill all roles, or when the text at hand is too long and deletions have to be made. Even poetological concerns and others – often closely related – with the aesthetics of theatre can occasion such changes. Theatrical depictions of sexuality and violence are a case in point, as they may be addressed and/or portrayed too directly (e. g., when lines spoken onstage are too explicit or events depicted are too drastic, either would have to be ›softened‹). In cases of doubt, the audience’s reaction would draw attention to sequences in need of such ›softening‹. And lastly, there were demands for changes originating not from the theatrical sphere, per se, such as in the case of political censorship. From a manuscriptological perspective, the present article considers the specific practices of updating and revising prompt books, as well as the interplay of the factors motivating or demanding those changes. In order to be able to identify and assess those factors in terms of their relative importance, a contextual background in literary theory and theatre history is needed; this will facilitate the placing of the textual artefacts under consideration in their cultural, social and institutional contexts. By following this interdisciplinary approach, the present article investigates the requirements and representational modes of single authorship within the discursive framework of the aesthetics of genius, as well as the various and contrasting ways of dealing with individual texts as they are adapted in theatrical terms, i. e., are rewritten and updated constantly. The article proposes an analytical framework, which is then demonstrated by way of example. This framework serves to make the various characteristics and functions, the material dynamics and concrete uses of prompt books – both as literary texts and as the focal points of theatrical and manuscript practices – accessible and methodologically suitable for further historical and systematic investigation and discussion.