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Philip Trauring <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 4 Mar 2024 18:06:04 -0500
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I was looking at Twain’s letters in 1869, while he was correcting the proofs for The Innocents Abroad, and found an interesting paragraph about spelling in the book. In a letter to the publisher, Elisha Bliss, Jr. on April 20, 1869, he wrote:

I wish you would have my revises revised again & look over them yourself & see that my marks have been corrected. A proof-reader who persists in making two words ‸(& sometimes even compound words)‸ of “anywhere” and “everything;” & who spells [ <;query=;searchAll=;sectionType1=;sectionType2=;sectionType3=;sectionType4=;sectionType5=;style=letter;brand=mtp#>villainy ] <;query=;searchAll=;sectionType1=;sectionType2=;sectionType3=;sectionType4=;sectionType5=;style=letter;brand=mtp#> “villiany” & “[ <;query=;searchAll=;sectionType1=;sectionType2=;sectionType3=;sectionType4=;sectionType5=;style=letter;brand=mtp#>liquifies ] <;query=;searchAll=;sectionType1=;sectionType2=;sectionType3=;sectionType4=;sectionType5=;style=letter;brand=mtp#>” &c, &c, is not three removes from an [ <;query=;searchAll=;sectionType1=;sectionType2=;sectionType3=;sectionType4=;sectionType5=;style=letter;brand=mtp#>idiot.— ] <;query=;searchAll=;sectionType1=;sectionType2=;sectionType3=;sectionType4=;sectionType5=;style=letter;brand=mtp#> ‸infernally unreliable—‸ & so I don’t like to trust your man. He never yet has acceded to a request of mine made in the margin, in the matter of spelling & punctuation, as I know of. He shows spite—don’t trust him, but revise my revises yourself. I have long ago given up trying to get him to spell those first-mentioned words properly. He is an idiot—& like all idiots, is self-conceited. 

So it seems Twain actually wanted those words combined, but it didn’t happen until 30 years later. Villainy was also corrected in two places where it had been misspelled. As far as I can tell liquifies was changed in the original.

In the same letter he decided on the title of the book. In an earlier letter he had been also been thinking about Crusade of the Innocents and The Exodus of the Innocents.


> On Feb 12, 2024, at 6:39 PM, Philip Trauring <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I’ve been comparing the spelling between the first edition (1869) of The Innocents Abroad, and the Author’s National Edition (which is copyright 1897 and 1899).
> I’m curious if the changes in spelling were approved by Twain, in this edition, or other uniform editions (which I have not yet looked at). Has there been anything written about the changes between editions and how they came about?
> Here are some of the changes I’ve noticed so far:
> Spelling changes:
> amphitheatre	amphitheater
> ancle		ankle
> centre		center
> ecstacy		ecstasy
> irruption		eruption
> lettred		lettered
> lustre		luster
> meagre		meager
> ploughed		plowed
> pretence		pretense
> spectre		specter
> sceptre		scepter
> staid		stayed
> theatre		theater
> woollen		woolen
> Words combined:
> any thing		anything
> any body		anybody
> any where	anywhere
> every thing	everything
> every body	everybody
> every where	everywhere
> While these were not combined:
> any one
> every one
> near by
> Also, pic-nic was changed to picnic, but to-day, to-morrow, and to-night were not changed.
> Looking at some of the words in Google Books Ngram Viewer shows when certain spellings overtook others, which is kind of neat to see visually. In most cases these map pretty well to what was changed. If the spelling didn’t switch until after 1899, it wasn’t changed in the Author’s National Edition. For example, ‘everywhere' overtook 'every where’ already in the 1840s, and it is changed in the uniform edition. However, ‘everyone’ didn’t overtake ‘every one’ until the late 1920s, so it isn’t changed in the uniform edition.
> Any other types of spelling changes I should be looking out for?
> Thanks.
> Philip