Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Dirty Books

H.L. Mencken, letter to Alfred A. Knopf, quoted in Marion Elizabeth Rodgers, "Note on the Texts," in her edition of H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: First, Second, and Third Series (New York: Library of America, 2010), p. 531:
Nothing looks worse than a dirty book.
In context (ibid.):
He was also a careful proofreader of his own work, and encouraged Knopf (in a letter of March 24, 1921, noting some typographical errors in the first printing of Prejudices: Second Series) to "correct all such errors whenever the opportunity offers. Nothing looks worse than a dirty book. The English reviewers, in particular, are very waspish about typographical errors."
I like this definition of a dirty book—one disfigured by typographical errors. Unfortunately, Rodgers' own "Note on the Texts" contains just such a blot (ibid.):
[F]or a more detailed account of the periodical publication history of individual pieces in the Prejudices, see S.T. Joshi, H.L. Mencken: An Anotated Bibliography (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2009).
For Anotated read Annotated.

Thanks to Eric Thomson for correcting a typographical error of mine in this blog post!


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