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Questions tagged [textual-history]

For questions about the history of the manuscripts, printed texts, or orally transmitted versions of a single work; or when and where a work was first published; or specific features of one or more editions; or how editors establish an accurate or authoritative text, etc. Not to be confused with the [publishing] tag, which is about publishing practices generally, or the [historical-context] tag, which is about relevant background information.

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In what issue of Life magazine was "Misguided 'Guide'" first published?

R K Narayan's A Writer's Nightmare: Selected Essays 1958–1998 (New Delhi: Penguin, 1988) reprints "Misguided 'Guide'" on pp. 206–217. The essay recounts his experiences during the making of ...
verbose's user avatar
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2 votes
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Why was "The Love Detectives" not included in Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Mr Quin?

Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Mr Quin, first published in April 1930, included 11 short stories that had appeared in various British and American magazines between March 1924 and October 1929. ...
verbose's user avatar
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2 votes
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71 views

What differences are there between the editions of Grossman's translation of Don Quixote?

Putting aside the physical (like the cover, flaps etc.), what, if any, differences are there between these three editions of Edith Grossman's translation of Don Quixote? Are the annotations the same ...
FünfzehnFledermäuse's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
299 views

The text of Wordsworth's "To Toussaint L'Ouverture"

Several different versions of Wordsworth's sonnet "To Toussaint L'Ouverture" can be found online. Here is one version, from Haram Lee's blog on the Brandeis University website: Toussaint, ...
verbose's user avatar
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20 votes
1 answer
4k views

Censorship of African-American characters in "Tintin in America"

From the Wikipedia page on Tintin in America: For the 1973 edition published in the U.S., the publishers made Hergé remove African-American characters from the book, and redraw them as Whites or ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
111 views

Difference between Stephen Fry "Mythos" books

I would like to buy the book Mythos by Stephen Fry. I know that he has published a trilogy where Mythos is the first book, followed by Heroes and Troy. However, there seem to be several books by ...
Elerium115's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
184 views

What were the poems other than those by Donne in the Melford Hall manuscript?

In November 2018, the Guardian reported that a 400 year old manuscript volume containing several poems by John Donne had been recently discovered at Melford Hall in Suffolk, England. In addition to ...
verbose's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is this a typo in my copy of The Hunchback of Notre Dame?

Nevertheless, as be harangued them, the satisfaction and admiration unanimously excited by his costume were dissipated by his words; Hugo, Victor. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (AmazonClassics Edition) ...
ICD's user avatar
  • 171
7 votes
1 answer
532 views

What is the textual source for the original ending of Austen's Persuasion?

The Norton Critical Edition of Jane Austen's Persuasion includes two chapters as a supplement to the novel. These chapters, printed under the heading "The Original Ending of Persuasion", ...
verbose's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
226 views

Why did the book held by Rubashov change title between different versions of "Darkness at Noon"?

The English translation of Koestler's Darkness at Noon was made in 1940 by Daphne Hardy. Since the original version of the manuscript was presumed lost, for many years this was the only copy of the ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
153 views

How long did it take a scribe to manually copy the Quran before the invention of printing?

According to the article Your Copy of the Quran Was Probably Written by this Man (undated), A Mushaf usually requires more than 3 years to write a Quran and an additional year to proofread it. This ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
734 views

Can I trust that Shakespeare's sonnets will always be published with the same numbering system?

Can I trust that Shakespeare's sonnets will always be published using the same numbering system? Will Sonnet 30 always be published as Sonnet 30; sonnet 29 always as 29? Was the current order and ...
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8 votes
1 answer
2k views

What words sung by Gloria Gaynor correspond to the line written in the lyrics of I Will Survive as "It took all the strength I had not to fall apart"?

The lyrics of Gloria Gaynor's song "I Will Survive" include the line "It took all the strength I had not to fall apart". You can hear here what she actually sings. With what words ...
tell's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
719 views

Maupassant, "j'ai en effet pour amie Mme Rosset", is this a typo?

One of Maupassant's stories in the Gallimard edition contains the following sentence. Ma chère petite, j'ai en effet pour amie Mme Rosset, que je connais depuis six ans et que j'aime beaucoup; j'...
Jacob Wegelin's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
311 views

Source of the 1953 revisions to "The Great Gatsby"

The 1953 Scribner’s edition of The Great Gatsby has many minor differences in wording from the first (1925) edition by the same publisher. I’ve collected some of the differences from the first fifty ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
913 views

Why are so many Agatha Christie novels published with multiple titles?

For example: And Then There Were None was first called Ten Little Indians; The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side was later shortened to The Mirror Crack'd; Death in the Air is also known as Death in ...
Wyvern123's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
369 views

Why is the 1820 Indicator version of La Belle Dame Sans Merci seen as more "politically correct"?

In his textbook Theory of Literature, Paul Fry writes at length about Jerome McGann's critique of Keats. As part of this he has this to say about the comparison between the 1819/1848 and the 1820 ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
114 views

How is it possible to create a definitive edition of Finnegans Wake?

In recent news, the publisher Houyhnhnm Press released a limited edition copy of Finnegans Wake based on 30 years of work by scholars to refine and revise the text. There are apparently some 9000 ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
454 views

Have they ever published normal-sized Tintin volumes?

Have they ever published normal-sized Tintin volumes? The books with 3 in 1, but the size of the single issues.
user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
587 views

Does this edit in The Magician's Nephew (from "had her bathe" to "had her bath") fundamentally change the meaning of the sentence?

Later editions of C.S. Lewis 'The Magician's Nephew' have been edited, presumably to reflect modern usage. Polly went down and had her bathe; at least she said that was what she'd been doing, but we ...
Valorum's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
9k views

In which version of "Snow White" is her name really "Lips Red as Blood, Hair Black as Ebony, Skin White as Snow"?

Is there a version of Snow White where her name is a longer description? TVTropes says: Snow White. Her real name is "Lips Red as Blood, Hair Black as Ebony, Skin White as Snow" based on ...
Malady's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
111 views

What are the changes between the touring version of "The Play That Goes Wrong" and the licensed stage version?

I saw The Play That Goes Wrong when it came through my town, having greatly enjoyed the excerpt I'd found online of the show. It's now available to be licensed for professional, community, and school ...
Sean Duggan's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
81 views

How was The Great Gilly Hopkins revised for 2015?

I'm reading Katherine Paterson's The Great Gilly Hopkins for the first time. It's the "Revised paperback edition, 2015" of a book copyrighted in 1978, according to the copyright page. Based ...
msh210's user avatar
  • 59
4 votes
1 answer
86 views

Has "To Autumn" ever ended the first stanza with something other than a period?

Is there an edition of Keats' poem To Autumn which ends the first stanza with something other than a period (full stop)? Do we have an edition of it that Keats saw through the press? I think the ...
John Harvey's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
516 views

Plot differences between the 1977 version and 1997 rewrite of "Demon Seed"

What's the difference in terms of plot between the 1977 version and 1997 rewrite of Demon Seed by Dean Koontz? Spoilers are welcome.
bestofthebeast's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
120 views

What is known, and how, about the dating of the Exeter Book?

The Exeter Book is one of the most important pieces of Anglo-Saxon (Old English) literature, containing a wide variety of works including riddles, elegies, a so-called bestiary, etc. Wikipedia says ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
227 views

How does "handwriting" provide evidence for dating Beowulf's composition to "the first half of the eighth century"?

The Wikipedia article for Beowulf has this interesting bit in the "Authorship and date" section: On the other hand, some scholars argue that linguistic, palaeographical (handwriting), ...
bobble's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
269 views

Gagool, Gagoola, or Gagaoola?

In Chapter One of King Solomon's Mines we have the first reference to one of the main antagonists of the story: Stop, though! there is Gagaoola, if she was a woman, and not a fiend. Throughout the ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 3,419
2 votes
0 answers
39 views

How does Ahmad Khani's Mem and Zin differ from the pre-existing oral tradition of the story?

Mem and Zin is a classic tale of traditional Kurdish storytelling, passed down through oral tradition for centuries, but also written down in 1692 by the Kurdish poet Ahmad Khani. In the process of ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
198 views

Did "Gargantua and Pantagruel" originally have illustrations?

The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel is a series of novels by François Rabelais, originally published in the 16th century. The Wikipedia article notes this about illustrations: The most famous and ...
bobble's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
6k views

What's the first appearance of the rhyme about "He died defending his right of way"?

There's a little poem that goes something like this: Here lies the body of Thomas Grey, Who died defending his right of way. He was perfectly right as he sped along, But he's just as dead as if he'd ...
A. B.'s user avatar
  • 275
21 votes
1 answer
3k views

When and why did "No man is an island" start being regarded as a poem?

John Donne's "Meditation XVII" from Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624) includes the following well-known passage: No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the ...
verbose's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
126 views

When was Mem and Zin / Mam û Zîn first printed?

Wikipedia describes Mem and Zin as a Kurdish classic love story written down in 1692 (...). In other words, it was written down roughly two-and-a-half centuries after Johannes Gutenberg invented the ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
178 views

When and how was the phrase "these dark Satanic mills" in Blake's "Jerusalem" first altered to "those dark Satanic mills"?

William Blake's lines of verse "Jerusalem", which appear in the "Preface" to his poem "Milton", were written c.1804 and first printed c.1808. They also appear, but with ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
143 views

Horatio Hornblower book as part of anthology?

I first read C. S. Forester’s Beat to Quarters as a teenager in the mid-1970s. I remember it as having been included in a Readers’ Digest Condensed Book, but the Wikipedia listing of these books ...
user11674's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
296 views

Who classified Rabindranath Tagore's lyrics into the six standard categories?

The standard edition of Rabindranath Tagore's song lyrics, গীতবিতান / giitabitaan, "A Canopy of Songs", classifies the lyrics under six headings: পূজা / puujaa, "Worship" স্বদেশ / ...
verbose's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the original source of Rabindranath Tagore's "Endless Time"?

There is a poem "Endless Time" by Rabindranath Tagore as follows, which I interpret as being about a mortal human speaking to God, someone living a rushed human life and comparing it to God'...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
7k views

"Yum yum pig's bum"

I saw a vernacular poem that appears to have been passed down and passed around in various parts of the UK. A couple of different versions: Yum yum Pig's bum Wrap it up In chewing gum Have a slice ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
40 views

When and how was the manuscript of Fratricide Punished / Der bestrafte Brudermord lost?

Yesterday, I asked a question about the relationship between the Ur-Hamlet and Fratricide Punished / Der bestrafte Brudermord. The Wikipedia page about Fratricide Punished says that the play was first ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
177 views

Earliest known manuscripts of the Shahnameh?

The classical Persian epic poem the Shahnameh was written over a millennium ago, 977-1010 CE, compiled in verse form from traditional mythology and history by the poet Ferdowsi. Wikipedia tells us ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
749 views

Are Barnes & Noble editions of public domain works of reliable quality?

If I buy a "Barnes & Noble Classics Series" edition of a book that is in public domain, can I be confident that it is "correct," in the sense of being unabridged, un-bowdlerize,...
Sven3B's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
50 views

What manuscript or manuscripts was the first printed edition of the Tale of Genji based on?

The original manuscript of the 11th-century Japanese novel The Tale of Genji has been lost. According to the Wikipedia article Textual tradition of The Tale of Genji, "the number of manuscript ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
116 views

Why was the title of Mark Twain's jumping frog short story changed so much?

I just learned from another question about a short story by Mark Twain entitled "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", which, when I looked it up online to find a copy-pastable ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why are there three different versions of the "solid/sullied/sallied flesh" line in Hamlet?

While looking up about the passage asked about in this previous question, I noticed that there are different versions of the same line in Hamlet, Act I Scene II, line 333: O that this too too solid ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
85 views

Info about "Wisdom is One" by Benjamin Williams Huntsman?

Ran across a title. Out of curiosity, tried trolling the internet for more info. No joy. Does anyone know anything about a book titled "Wisdom is One" by Benjamin Williams Huntsman ...
Quisizyx's user avatar
  • 103
21 votes
1 answer
6k views

Why is the order of The Chronicles of Narnia changed from original publication?

When I originally read The Chronicles of Narnia I read an older boxset which has the books numbered in original publication order: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe Prince Caspian The Voyage of ...
sanpaco's user avatar
  • 536
3 votes
1 answer
363 views

Was it traditional to omit the prologue from Shakespeare's plays in the First Folio?

In an older question about the purpose of the prologue in Romeo and Juliet, Cory Howell asked in a now deleted answer: For what it's worth, the Prologue is not included in the First Folio version of ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
51 views

How do scholars estimate the original number of copies of the Shakespeare First Folio of 1623?

The first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays was printed in 1623, several years after the author's death, and is known is the First Folio. (Later editions are known as the Second Folio, etc., ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
116 views

Matthew Arnold's anthology of literature for use in schools

While reading Lynette Hunter's lecture text "What Is Literary Value?" (Gresham College, 1997), I came across the following passage (emphasis mine): What gets into and what stays out of the canon is ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
1k views

If I find a book by Nietzsche, how do I know if it's Friedrich's original work, and not work that was edited by his nazi sister, Elisabeth?

Background I've been getting into philosophy lately, and I've been wanting to read some of Nietzsche's work. But history has it that after his mental decline, and subsequent death, his sister became ...
Alec's user avatar
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