Saturday, May 10, 2008


O Text, Thou Art Sic!

From Eric Thomson, via email, on fact checking and proofreading (with a parody of William Blake):
O Text, thou art sic!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of sooty joy...

Here are a couple I came across recently:

From Anatoly Liberman's An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology: An Introduction (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008): "The authors of etymological dictionaries find it difficult to eliminate errors" (pg. xxx). Two pages later: "After his death, my articles axli ii peared in various journals, miscellaneous collections, and Festschriften" (pg. xxxii).

From Eric G. Wilson's Against Happiness (New York: Sarah Chrichton Books, 2008): "Between 1802 and 1810, Beethoven created several of his most unforgettable masterpieces. These great works included the Tempest Sonata (opus 3), the Eroica, or Third, Symphony; the Waldheim Sonata (opus 53) ..." (pg. 128). The Tempest Sonata is opus 31, and Kurt Waldheim would no doubt have been smug to hear of a Waldheim Sonata, but Count Waldstein less so.

Regarding the 'vast Homerian' (more Batrachomyomachian) movements of chipmunk, marten and sea-lion, I wonder if Patrick Zollner didn't really have the Atlantic in mind (as in L'Inferno, XXVI) instead of the Aegean. Striking out to find new terrritory in that pond-with-stepping-stones doesn't sound like much of an adventure.

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