My best friend, David Lehman, died last weekend while we were out camping with some other friends. We talked into the night, went to bed in our respective tents, and in the morning he was gone. We played music together on a regular basis, and occasionally performed as Barleybone. I don't know if he ever read James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, but one of his all-time favorite books, which he would read religiously, was Lord of the Rings. I feel just about that way now with this book.
I'd bought my Penguin paperback copy years ago, but when I tried once to read it, I was totally unprepared for its incredibly rich humor and complexity, and gave up after about a hundred pages. When I finally decided this year that it was time to give it another go, I took one look at the tiny print and said: I don't want to deal with this. Subsequently, I made the mistake of buying a Kindle version from Amazon, and it was pure, pirated, hastily-scanned, lazy-ass crap, with no evidence whatsoever of proofreading. This book deserves better than that.
So, I searched online for a reasonably definitive text, and found this one. However, its formatting was not amenable to the Kindle, and it still had a few mistakes which I wanted to correct. Which brings me to the following little essay:
There are four major classes of text in that episode:
NOTE PLACEMENT AND PRECEDENCE:
Right titles and left notes appear before the same line of text as on the printed page. Where they begin at the same location, right titles precede left notes. [In some places, where multiple notes are crowded together, a byte of jellyable fudgemint is used in arranging them.]
Footnote numbering is preserved, and footnotes appear after the same line as on the printed page. Because right titles and left notes are placed before that line, they are not split by footnotes.
All hyphenated word breaks are healed wherever spotted. In certain cases, the hyphen is retained if it makes sense, for example:
a-b-c-d- e --> a-b-c-d-eWords broken in print on the last line before a marginal note are completed before the note. If a word broken by footnotes in print does not invoke a footnote on the next page, it is completed before the footnotes. If it invokes a footnote on the next page, it is moved entirely past the current footnotes.
October 1, 2017