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Old 09-25-2007, 07:26 PM   #1
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Butler, Samuel: The Way of All Flesh, v1. 25 Sept 2007

1903 Too hot to be published during Butler's lifetime, is said to have changed literature when discovered in his drawer. "...I suppose that The Way of All Flesh and The Playboy of the Western World are the two great milestones on the road of purely English letters between Gulliver's Travels and Joyce's Ulysses." (Ford Madox Ford)

So we might as well have it without the typos like "...is it not Tennyson who has said: ‘’Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have lost [sic] at all’?" This is not a dig at you, Patricia, just again at Gutenberg, who can't be bothered to fix the legions of errors in the manually-transcribed classics.

This version also with the inter-textual art (and Greek) that does add some atmosphere, at least, to the novel.
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Old 09-25-2007, 08:43 PM   #2
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Your version has a copyright notice from Babble books, 2007 at the beginning and at the end of the text. Have you acquired the permission of the copyright holder?
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:43 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Anais9000 View Post
1903
So we might as well have it without the typos like "...is it not Tennyson who has said: ‘’Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have lost [sic] at all’?" This is not a dig at you, Patricia, just again at Gutenberg, who can't be bothered to fix the legions of errors in the manually-transcribed classics.

This version also with the inter-textual art (and Greek) that does add some atmosphere, at least, to the novel.
I have just checked the text against a paper copy.
Butler DID ACTUALLY write

"...is it not Tennyson who has said: ‘’Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have lost [sic] at all’?"

I think that you will find that this is a literary technique called irony.

You may wish to correct your copy.
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:45 PM   #4
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Anais9000 is Babble Books.
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Old 09-26-2007, 01:52 AM   #5
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You've given me a whole new way to look at literature:

my father once sent me down to his workship to get some glue
I see now that this is not a printer's error, it's nautical humor

able to sound a hard it “c” or “k,”
this is not a typo for -- a hard “c” or “k,” -- it's a burlesque

he brought me a book and told me flat it was his own
not a typo, merely satire

pour out to her all little worries
dropping the "my" is self-parody

hemmed in with punishments upon ever side
quite a practical joke on those expecting a "y"

I could nor help thinking how like it was to the way in which
author substitutes "r" for "t", hilarity ensues

Hence it oftens happens that
one extra "s" should always be understood as hyperbole

He knew that very well he had done little as compared with what he might
a witty caricature of a world free of punctuation

O Mrs Pontifex is took with the horrors
while not found in print editions, the "O" must be regarded as an epigram. A very short epigram.

Still, misquoting Tennyson doesn't seem particularly funny, and it doesn't happen in any but the versions derived from the rather sloppy 1908 Fifield edition. See eg. E. P. Dutton (1916) or modern Signet versions.
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Old 09-26-2007, 06:13 PM   #6
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I was curious to see what Samuel Butler did actually write in Chapter 77, so visited the University library on my way home from work.

All of the recent editions have

‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have lost at all.’

It seems that Butler arranged to have the novel published posthumously by his friend R A Streatfeild (as explained in the Preface to my version). Streatfeild made extensive changes to the manuscript, leading to the version that we have today.

However, in 1964, Daniel F Howard, of Rutgers University, revisited the manuscript and edited a new and complete version, using Butler’s original title: ‘Ernest Pontifex, or The Way of All Flesh’.’ He claims that, ‘the text of this version is taken directly from the British Museum; nothing has been silently omitted or added except an occasional mark of punctuation which the sense demands.’ [p.xxiii]

I turned to the passage in question and it definitely reads as given in my (and the PG) version. Moreover, there is a footnote informing us that, ‘Overton perverts Tennyson’s famous sentiment, “’Tis better to have loved and lost/Than never to have loved at all” (“In Memoriam”, 27: 15-16).’[p. 297.]

[Quotations from Samuel Butler, ‘Ernest Pontifex, or The Way of All Flesh’ Edited, with an Introduction and Notes by Daniel F Howard, Rutgers University, Methuen, London, 1965.]

From this, we may conclude that Butler intended the inversion. Streatfeild , or later editors may mistakenly have amended the passage so that it frequently appears in an incorrect version today.

I never expected to find myself arguing for the merits, or otherwise of a single word. I had also, perhaps mistakenly, thought that other people might be interested in the books that I created. However, given the criticisms, I am now wondering whether it is worth bothering to share these works.
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Old 09-26-2007, 06:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricia View Post
I never expected to find myself arguing for the merits, or otherwise of a single word. I had also, perhaps mistakenly, thought that other people might be interested in the books that I created. However, given the criticisms, I am now wondering whether it is worth bothering to share these works.
Yes it is worth it. Please do. Don't let one person make you feel it's not worth it. I do appreciate the work and effort.
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Old 09-26-2007, 10:00 PM   #8
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Well, I'm also sorry that you took offense. As you know, I've pointed out errors in previous postings, which you've used to make textual corrections. In this case, I thought it would be easier to simply post an alternate version. I took especial pains to note that this was not a criticism of your effort. You responded with sarcasm: "I think that you will find that this is a literary technique called irony." If you can't stand a little humor in reply, then perhaps it would be best not to start such a fruitless argument.


I still see the inversion as senseless, out of character, and crucially, not commented upon in the response -- ie, an obvious error. You're free, as a publisher, to correct or not to correct, as you choose. You're also free (which I gather is what you DO do) to publish these works without bothering to read them, so as to form an opinion about their textual correctness prior to publishing them. You'll pardon me if I choose actually to read them, and to advance each publication as my best understanding of the intent of the author.
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Old 09-27-2007, 09:19 PM   #9
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Please Patricia, do not be discouraged. All the hours you've spent converting and uploading books is very much appreciated.
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Old 09-28-2007, 06:11 AM   #10
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Please Patricia, do not be discouraged. All the hours you've spent converting and uploading books is very much appreciated.
I try to avoid "me too" posts, but in this case, to encourage Patricia, I'll shout out "Don't be discouraged."

Anais9000 makes a lot of assumptions which are without proof, such as that you haven't read what you're converting (I personally don't care if you have read them or not, I appreciate your efforts in posting them here since I don't have time to do anything other than run the PG texts through a massaging program to eliminate the hard returns on each line).

As for Anais9000 choosing to change what everybody else has pointed out is in every edition, and has even been footnoted in a scholarly edition, this brings up a big philosophical point in all the conversions we do:

Editing is best left to those who have access to original manuscripts or to first editions, while those who work with PG texts, in my not-so-humble opinion, should simply put the texts into useful format, choosing to add links to chapters or not as they have the time and inclination, and not try to be a scholarly editor correcting the collected errors of poor editions.

Keep those books coming, Patricia! Please.
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Old 09-28-2007, 09:17 AM   #11
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I know I don't read what I am converting. I'm converting it so someday I can read it. If I had to wait until I read what I've converted, I'd have posted less books for others to enjoy. If there are errors in what I've converted, I'm hoping that others who may be reading before I do post what's wrong so I can correct and report a new version.

But for example, I recently posted a newer version of Music of the Spheres because I've made some corrections found while reading. I know not everything I'll convert will be perfect, but it's better then not having it at all.
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anais9000 View Post
I still see the inversion as senseless, out of character, and crucially, not commented upon in the response -- ie, an obvious error. You're free, as a publisher, to correct or not to correct, as you choose. You're also free (which I gather is what you DO do) to publish these works without bothering to read them, so as to form an opinion about their textual correctness prior to publishing them. You'll pardon me if I choose actually to read them, and to advance each publication as my best understanding of the intent of the author.
Some supporting material for the PG version:

‘It was Jones [a friend of Butler’s] who made the humorous misquotation from Tennyson: "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all" which Butler used… ‘
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler
[Lee Elbert Holt, ‘The Note-Books of Samuel Butler’ PMLA, (Proceedings of the Modern Language Association of America) Vol. 60, No. 4 (Dec., 1945)]

‘In morals the work of destruction generally begins by affirming the opposite of the accepted rule. An excellent source book for this attitude is Samuel Butler's The Way of All Flesh, written in 1885 but not published until 1903. The Victorian Tennyson had said: “'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Butler said: “'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all.” This inversion of values—don't weep over loss; there are plenty of loves to be had and the more the merrier—is but an indication of method.’
(Encyclopaedia Britanica’s ‘Guide to Shakespeare’. Available at:
http://www.britannica.com/shakespeare/article-58467 )


‘Dry as ever, Overton muses: "Is it not Tennyson who has said: 'Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have lost at all'?"’
(Susan Haack, ‘The Ideal of Intellectual Integrity,in Life and Literature’, New Literary History 36.3 (2005) 359-373, p. 362.)

Thus Butler could say something important and truthful by the inversion, "It's better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all," a trick which he called “quoting from memory”.
(Jacques Barzun, ‘Classic, Romantic and Modern’ University of Chicago, 1975. p.223)

‘The essence of earth life is not only limitation but loss. We must learn to forego. Our lives of course are filled with the experience of loss, disappointments, sacrifice of hopes. But now know that on the higher plane we shall find again those we have loved and lost. The loss is all a training of the soul. Do you remember Samuel Butler's delightful mis-quotation - "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all"!’(Sir George Trevelyan, ‘Retirement and Old Age: A Wrekin Trust Lecture’
Available at:
http://www.sirgeorgetrevelyan.org.uk...etirement.html)


A Google search on
Butler "loved and lost than never to have lost at all"
throws up 1290 hits attributing this version to Butler, including one from the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations.
http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=But...n&start=0&sa=N
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Old 09-28-2007, 01:47 PM   #13
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Yes, but you see, the inversion is always interpreted to mean the same thing as the original. "The loss is all a training of the soul." Actually, there are two possible texts, and two possible interpretations; unfortunately, both intepretations apply to one of the texts -- Tennyson's.

Ernest: "And yet," he said, "I was very fond of her till she took to drinking."
Overton: "Perhaps; but is it not Tennyson who has said: ' 'Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all'?"
Ernest: "You are an inveterate bachelor," was the rejoinder.

Or, to paraphrase, assuming Overton is speaking straightfowardly:
Ernest: "You know, old bean, I really loved her..."
Overton: "Yes, it was worthwhile, for you have loved and grown."
Ernest: "Easy for you to say!"

However, if Overton is being ironic (I'm not saying he's misquoting Tennyson, I'm saying he's quoting Tennyson ironically):
Ernest: "You know, old bean, I really loved her..."
Overton: "You don't mean to hand me that old "And yet I've loved and grown" line?"
Ernest: "Don't knock it till you've tried it."

Both of these interpretations are possible because they're implied by the Tennyson quote, which is a consolation for the actual (the heartbreak) over the counterfactual (the avoidance of heartbreak by the avoidance of love). What could it mean to say that it's better never to have lost at all? Unless we've switched in the second part from speaking of love to speaking of, say, neckties, it could only apply to a situation where boy meets girl/boy keeps girl/husband and wife die together in their sleep. But this is not the situation, as Ellen is manifestly gone.

Of course, as you know, the situation is more complicated. Ernest has just learned that the "loss" he experienced was an emotional one only, not the loss of a wife, since his wife was a bigamist, and therefore he "lost" nothing under the law. So here you could hope to find justification for Overton's inversion. Unfortunately, you would then have to argue that he is comparing, not what happened to what might have happened (heartbreak/no heartbreak because no love), to two different ways of looking at what happened: (you loved and lost/but not technically under the law, so no harm, no foul). To make this really work, the "than" has to be read as an "and" (since they both happened), and worse yet, his "inversion" would have to be understood super-ironically, since he'd really be preferring the second part (the one he's saying is NOT better) to the first.

Note that the book does not go on, 'Ernest gaped uncomprehendingly.' or even '"You are an inveterate punster," was the rejoinder.' No, Ernest replies exactly as if Overton has said: 'Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. He challenges Overton's standing to judge his emotional state.

In fact, out of 100 people who read this passage (when "inverted"), I'm sure that 98 simply "see" it as "never to have loved at all", just as they see "Hence it oftens happens that" as "Hence it often happens that." Probably one person says, What was that? Oh, he must have meant "than never to have loved at all". And one, say a professor at Rutgers impressed by his access to the unpublished manuscript, or a French philosopher, says: "Ah yes, I perceive the irony. Butler meant the same thing he would have if he had not misquoted -- but with an extra helping of irony."

Even if Butler had intended this (quite possible) he did not publish it, and likely an editor would not have allowed him to (that's what editors do, stand between authors and their most egregious mistakes). We can't know. But we do know (thanks to Patricia's scholarship) that the man Butler chose to oversee the publication, felt the passage should reach print as: "never to have loved at all."

What's really funny about this, is that it doesn't much matter one way or the other; the problem with these errors is never any single one, it's their terrible accumulation. In fact, this one's particularly harmless, much like:

it was invested to bring in £5 per cent. and gave him therefore an income of 250 pounds a year.

What difference does it make that the £ symbol is used where it should not be? Percents are unitless, so it's correct to write "to bring in 5 per cent." I don't dispute that by a slip of the pen Butler might have put in the pound sign, and many editions carry it forward. But no one argues from this that the £5 per cent times the £5000 resulted in pounds squared, so that Ernest must have been speaking about the acceleration of the money supply. It's harmless, because it cannot affect the interpretation. It's an "obvious error." Just so, "never to have lost at all."

And, by the way, Patricia, after taking all this time to look up other people's opinions, do you have one of your own?

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Old 09-28-2007, 05:49 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Anais9000 View Post
Yes, but you see, the inversion is always interpreted to mean the same thing as the original. "The loss is all a training of the soul." Actually, there are two possible texts, and two possible interpretations; unfortunately, both intepretations apply to one of the texts -- Tennyson's.
...
And, by the way, Patricia, after taking all this time to look up other people's opinions, do you have one of your own?
Since you ask,

I'm not an expert on Butler but my feeling is that if he wrote the inversion then that is what should appear. And I am convinced that he wrote the inverted version (based on the Daniel F Howard edition, which is a near-facsimile.)

I'm afraid that I'm not entirely convinced by your arguments that the Tennyson and the Butler mean the same. The Tennyson prioritises love, whereas the Butler version makes it clear that loss is the more important - perhaps even a ubiquitous part of the human condition.

Moreover, there is textual evidence for Butler's use of other inversions or subversions of popular sayings, e.g.:

'An honest God's the noblest work of man'.
(Further Extracts from the Notebooks, p.26)
and
'Genius ... has been described as an supreme capacity for taking trouble. ... It might be more fitly described as a supreme capacity for getting its possessors into trouble of all kinds and keeping them in it for so long as the genius persists. (Notebooks: Genius, I)

From this, I conclude that inversion is a stylistic technique of Butler, used to subvert popular expectation and, possibly - in an indirect manner - , popular morality. Given that one message in The Way of All Flesh is that conventional morality is constrictive and life-denying; this is further evidence for the inverted version. For me, it has the effect of pulling up the reader, and making him/her question the popular 'received wisdom' of the day.

So, all these reasons have convinced me that the inversion used by PG, recent editions, (and me), was both what Butler wrote and that he had a reason for writing it.

I don't know where the misprinted version first entered the text and can't say whether it was Streatfeild or an over-zealous subsequent editor or typesetter. I could make some attempt to trace the publication history but don't really feel inclined to do so.

It's not the only time this has happened. Perhaps you know the story of the numerous apparent misprints in Ulysses which really annoyed Joyce:

'It appears that the famous telegram from Simon Dedalus to Stephen did not read when delivered to him in Paris, ''Mother dying come home father,'' but ''Nother dying come home father.'' Hence it was, as Stephen recalls, a ''curiosity to show.'' The typesetters could not believe their eyes in this instance, nor in another when the black horn fan held by the ''whoremistress'' Bella Cohen asks, ''Have you forgotten me?'' and is answered, ''Nes. Yo.'' They changed it to ''Yes. No.''
(Richard Ellman, "Finally, the Last Word on 'Ulysses': The Ideal Text, and Portable Too" New York Times, 15 June 1986.)
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Old 09-30-2007, 08:56 AM   #15
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Patricia,

I'm with you on this point of inversion being intentional -- and I think you've supported your point very well.

I also agree with you on Butler's probable intention of emphasising the ubiquitousness of loss in the human condition. Since we will ultimately lose anyway, it is better to have loved along the way. Makes sense to me.

Thanks for continuing with the submissions -- although I think I will pass on that suggested remedy for ulcerated sores in the Ladies' Dressing Room. ;-)
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