Monday, September 09, 2013


Laws of Philology

Medieval Hispanic Studies in Memory of Alan Deyermond. Edited by Andrew M. Beresford, ‎Louise M. Haywood, and ‎Julian Weiss (Woodbridge: Tamesis, 2013), p. 2 (from the editors' "Introduction: Alan Deyermond, 1932-2009"):
Gustave Lanson (1857-1934) is credited with coining the first three laws of philology: 'Read what the text says, the whole of what it says and nothing but what it says.' However, the fourth, fifth, and sixth laws were contributed by Alan: 'Believe what it says on the frontispiece and not the cover: the author usually sees proofs of the first but not the second', 'Always, I repeat, always check the accuracy of citations rather than relying on the accuracy of someone else', and the closely related, 'Bibliographical accuracy is an obligation, not an option'.
Hat tip: Ian Jackson, who remarks, "Frontispiece = a false friend. He means title-page. And 'accuracy is an obligation, not an option' echoes Housman's 'a duty and not a virtue'."

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