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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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Quote identification: Schindler war ein kleiner Rabe

John Rabe is known for his humanitarian actions during the Nanjing massacre, cf. link to the German Wikipedia. I remember well, but might be mistaken, that in one version of the very same German ...
23 votes
1 answer
5k views

Which is the 'correct' version of "The Lady of Shalott" and why are there two?

It seems Tennyson wrote two versions of "The Lady of Shalott". They are quite similar but have some big differences, for example, the first stanza of the 1832 version is: On either side the ...
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why was Pygmalion retitled to My Fair Lady?

George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion has been adapted many times for different media, but most notably as a musical entitled My Fair Lady. This musical was so popular that some screen adaptations have ...
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 ...
11 votes
1 answer
705 views

How was Crime and Punishment originally published?

I know that Crime and Punishment was originally published in "The Russian Messenger". I read that it was a Monthly journal. But how exactly was Crime and Punishment formatted in its initial release? ...
6 votes
1 answer
249 views

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 ...
9 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is there a useful "entry-level" annotated edition of Le Morte d'Arthur? [closed]

I've always been a huge fan of Arthurian legend, and have read many books and comics etc inspired by it. But I've always wanted to read a telling of the stories that was much closer to the source so ...
3 votes
0 answers
114 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
150 views

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. ...
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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
140 views

What changes were made to Ruddigore?

So I recently watched a performance of Ruddigore and later read that the second act was almost completely redone and that the overture was changed. However, I cannot seem to find anything regarding ...
9 votes
1 answer
628 views

Which short stories are falsely attributed to Guy de Maupassant, and why?

Thanks to @GarethRees's sleuthing and editing, I just learned that several French short stories found in the Project Gutenberg version of the "Entire Original Maupassant Short Stories" are in fact not ...
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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
73 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 ...
9 votes
3 answers
593 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 ...
7 votes
2 answers
380 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
306 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, ...
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 ...
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) ...
10 votes
2 answers
994 views

Why was the text of "HaTikvah" changed?

"HaTikvah," Israel's national anthem, was adopted from an earlier poem called "Tikvateinu," by Naftali Herz Imber. Here is the official text of the anthem (translation and transliteration can be found ...
6 votes
1 answer
185 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
321 views

In which editions of Moby Dick is this a six inch chapter?

Towards the beginning of Moby Dick there is a chapter which is dedicated to a character called Bulkington, in this chapter the Author addresses this as a "six-inch chapter" Wonderfullest things are ...
6 votes
0 answers
73 views

Are there any major differences between the movie tie-in edition of Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide and the original edition?

Does the movie tie-in edition of Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastic World Around You only have a different cover (compared to the original edition), or are there also changes to the text ...
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'...
6 votes
1 answer
436 views

Why do I have a different version of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"?

The first stanza of Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" reads as follows in its original publication in New Hampshire (1923): Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is ...
7 votes
1 answer
552 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", ...
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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
159 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 ...
10 votes
1 answer
736 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 ...
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 ...
8 votes
3 answers
387 views

Which of these sources is right about "The Tempest"?

This is part of a quote by Ferdinand in the beginning of scene 1 of act 3 of "The Tempest": But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labours, Most busy, least when I do it. According to ...
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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
932 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 ...
4 votes
0 answers
117 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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
304 views

Fight Club book editions and different text passages

I found out that there are different editions of Fight Club that contain different text passages. I cannot find any page that would describe these differences and I don't know which version is the ...
12 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is the original manuscript of Don Quixote extant?

Apparently, there are 27 known copies of the first edition (1605). But Cervantes' hand-written original is not extant, correct?
5 votes
0 answers
82 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 ...
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 ...
8 votes
1 answer
320 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 ...
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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
312 views

How did the text of "First They Came ..." evolve?

I have read and heard people read many different versions of "First They Came ..." and according to the Wikipedia article, it was originally published in English by Milton Mayer. This led me ...
6 votes
1 answer
161 views

Typographical inconsistency in James Joyce's "Araby"

Sorry if this a fussy question, but in teaching "Araby" I have found that there is an inconsistency between editions that must be a typo, but I can't figure out which version is correct. Just after ...
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the 'full' version of The Epic of Gilgamesh?

I looked at a PDF of the Epic of Gilgamesh, and it was very pretty. Then, I decided that I wanted to purchase the physical copy of the book. While the version that I read online, which I thought was ...
15 votes
1 answer
170 views

Did Cummings' editors try to fix his works' eccentricities?

E.E. Cummings often wrote with deliberately unconventional spelling and syntax. It was popularly criticised when published; however, did his editors try to "fix" his work before it was published? If ...
3 votes
1 answer
113 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
462 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.
3 votes
1 answer
533 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.
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 ...
19 votes
2 answers
139k views

What is the origin of this contradictory poem?

Does anyone know where this poem originates from: One fine morning in the middle of the night, Two dead men got up to fight, Back to back they faced each other, Drew their swords and shot one another....
11 votes
1 answer
228 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), ...