Wednesday, December 29, 2004

An inconsistency or error in Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising

Compare the following:

Gwen and Margaret came stumbling together out of the bedroom they shared, wearing nightdresses, rubbing their eyes. "There's no need to bellow," Barbara said reproachfully to Will (47)

Barbara, sitting on the floor beside her mother, took the little carved wooden T from her hand and added it to a row she had made on the carpet of every initial in order. "Tom, Steve, Max, Gwen, Robin and Paul, me [Barbara], Mary, James," she said. "But where's the W for Will?" (70).

Clearly there is an inconsistency here. Either "Margaret" in the first quotation should in fact be "Barbara," or "Margaret" in the first quotation should in fact be "Mary." Of the two, I think the first is more likely, since otherwise the introduction of Barbara is jarring.

This seems altogether too trivial to try to publish anywhere else, and I'm not up for weaving together an article around it (I guess it could go in a footnote if I ever publish on Cooper again -- Click here for my big article on Cooper(but you have to have a Project MUSE password, and I don't).

To me the most interesting thing about noticing this inconsistency the other night is that I've read The Dark is Rising probably 20-25 times since 1978 (I re-read every Christmas nowadays, though I didn't always), and I never noticed it before. That shows just how hard it is to keep everything perfectly consistent, even when you have editors and scholars looking over your work in multiple editings and proofings.

Which leads me to my next post, a discussion of errors in Beowulf and the Critics. Tune in tomorrow for that excitement.


jon said...
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bill naka said...
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