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Sender: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
From: Robert Hirst <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 10:28:10 -0800
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Reply-To: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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On Wed, 27 Mar 1996 Larry Marshburne wrote:

> The California _Roughing It_ corrects the spelling in Ch. 29 from
> "Clagget" to "Clagett" (958).  I can't tell from the notes whether the
> first edition misspelling was a printer's error or a manuscript error.

Without access to the original printer's copy, no one can say for certain
whether Clemens misspelled it in the manuscript, or the typesetter
"corrected" it.  But we know that Clemens knew how to spell Clagett
correctly, as he did consistently in his letters to Clagett (see
especially the envelopes to his letters to Clagett as transcribed in
Letters 1 (171, 193, 240); also his two references to him on 275 (and
probably others I didn't take the time to track down). Clemens also sends
Clagett a copy of Roughing It in May 1872, as we know from his note to
Frank Bliss requesting same and giving Clagett's current address. Written
on 26 May, that note also spells Clagett correctly. On the other hand, the
9 August 1871 New York Tribune story announcing Clagett's election (page
4) got it wrong, while the editorial writer on the same page got it right.
One could make a long list of such variants. But I think the best evidence
suggests that Clemens probably got it right in the manuscript of Roughing
It, only to have it "corrected" by the helpful compositor. Since it is a
factual matter and we have no reason to suppose that Clemens intended to
misspell it, we emended to the correct form. In other words, even if
Clemens happened by chance to misspell it this one time in his (lost)
manuscript, that would be an error on his part, which by definition could
not be intended, and we would make the correction for him--always
reporting the fact, of course, so that everyone who cares to check can
make up their own mind about how the text should read.

By the way, Wes Britton to the contrary notwithstanding, there are several
ways to get into the acknowledgments of the Project's books which don't
involve contributing money to it. For instance Fred Clagett, a descendent
of Billy Clagett, is among the people thanked on p. xviii of Roughing It
for "documents and information that have enriched the annotation or helped
establish the text." We try to thank everyone who has helped in any way at
all, including gifts of money, and I hope if we've left anyone out by
inadvertence, they will not hesitate to let us know pronto. Any such
oversight would be corrected in later printings (if any), and we'd feel
obliged to give the injured party a copy of the book in its present form,
annotated with our apologies and regrets.

Bob Hirst
General Editor, Mark Twain Project
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