Monday, November 12, 2018

Collation Advice from the Past

Following from Tommy’s recent transcription suggestions, here is some advice on the subject from A. A. Vansittart, written to Hort on October 15, 1869.
…. How I wish I had seriously taken to collating and the like when I took my M.A. degree! Then I might have been able to follow your plans of collation which are in many respects admirable. Now alas I have 45 strong reasons against it! But I think I should recommend it to any young man beginning betimes: only with two modification. First I should impress on his mind always to collate to the best text within reach: never for instance to use a Lloyd’s Testament if he could beg, borrow, or steal a ‘Tregelles’. The best plan I think is what Wright was doing this year with his Chaucer, to take or make a text and have a lot of copies printed (with large margin, on writing paper: neglect nothing which may help one to write with speed what can be read with ease) and collate two or three MSS in each of them. Secondly I should decidedly recommend the use of coloured inks. They lose no minute of time: and they gain distinctness which is an equivalent of time: very likely they may save you from the dilemma of either having to do the work of weeks over again or not being able to rely on it. But perhaps I may have misunderstood your monochromania: perhaps it may bear the innocent nay laudable meaning that one should only write with one ink at a time? …
Given that Vansittart wrote this from the Hotel du Louvre in Paris, I think I would add one more tip: always try to do your collating from nice hotels in Paris.

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