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Old 06-05-2014, 11:13 PM   #1
AlexBell
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Name change in novel

I'm now working on The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins, but have come across a name change and don't know what to do about it.

In chapter 12 the three daughters of of Lord Mountbarry are named Lucy, Blanche, and Clara; Lucy is the eldest. In chapter 21 the eldest daughter is named Marion. I've seen this in the PG version, in a pdf of the 1892 version, and in a modern print version.

Should I leave the names as they are in the original, and hope nobody notices the name change? Or change Marion to Lucy in chapter 21, and hope nobody notices the discrepancy between the original and the MobileRead library version?
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Old 06-06-2014, 12:27 AM   #2
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I personally would hate to see a character's name suddenly change between chapters, especially in a mystery. (Unless that would be some kind of plot point.)

Maybe you could change it to Lucy to match the earlier chapter, but with a footnote to explain that in other editions the name inexplicably appears as "Marion".
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Old 06-06-2014, 03:00 AM   #3
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That name change is also mentioned here.

Basically, since it's public domain, you can do whatever you like, even get rid of Lucy/Marion completely. In printed books, successive editions may introduce this kind of change without notice. I would just consider this a typo and correct it silently. Actually, I just did something similar (work in progress).
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:29 PM   #4
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Thanks for all the suggestions, and for the link to the tvtropes site. It looks well worth exploring.

I agree that the name should be changed so that the names are consistent, but am a bit wary about doing it silently. In the 'preface to this edition' there is a section in which I outline the changes I have made, so I think I'll include something like 'have kept the eldest daughter's name consistent'.
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Old 06-07-2014, 07:16 PM   #5
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Maybe Marion was intended to be Lucy's middle name and Mr. Collins forgot which of the two names he had the character addressed by. Other authors had similar errors I understand. Bulkington was the name of a character who got a lot of stage time in Moby Dick I understand then Ahab shows up and Bulkington ends up being washed overboard.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:43 AM   #6
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It is hard to remember sometimes that these authors who we now regard as classic authors were grinding these out at a very fast pace to make a living, compensation then being much much less that the superstar authors of today. No surprise they should make a mistake. The Sherlock Holmes fans have uncovered some fair inconsistencies much worse than this.
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmikel View Post
It is hard to remember sometimes that these authors who we now regard as classic authors were grinding these out at a very fast pace to make a living, compensation then being much much less that the superstar authors of today. No surprise they should make a mistake. The Sherlock Holmes fans have uncovered some fair inconsistencies much worse than this.
Or it could have been introduced by the printer. Certainly back then it would have been harder to keep text consistent while setting the type I'd think.
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Old 06-29-2014, 03:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mrmikel View Post
It is hard to remember sometimes that these authors who we now regard as classic authors were grinding these out at a very fast pace to make a living, compensation then being much much less that the superstar authors of today. No surprise they should make a mistake. The Sherlock Holmes fans have uncovered some fair inconsistencies much worse than this.

My favorite Holmesian error is Dr Watson's forename.

We are told that the name on his dispatch box was "John H Watson", but later on his wife calls him "James". A pleasant explanation of Doyle's error (suggested by Dorothy Sayers) was that the "H" stood for "Hamish", the Scottish form of James, and his wife called him that as a pet name. She'd have got on well with Jasper Fforde.

Holmes' landlady, the indefatigable (and no doubt widowed) Mrs Hudson, appears briefly as Mrs Turner: speculation in that case turns on a brief marriage to a Mr Turner.
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Old 06-30-2014, 06:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Araucaria View Post
Holmes' landlady, the indefatigable (and no doubt widowed) Mrs Hudson, appears briefly as Mrs Turner: speculation in that case turns on a brief marriage to a Mr Turner.
Or simply that Mrs Watson was taking a well-deserved holiday, and Mrs Turner was filling in for her. I'd favour that theory, personally.
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