Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Exegetical exactitude …

… Annals of Biography: Angels and Ages : The New Yorker.

Even with the Gettysburg Address, despite our possession of what seem to be two drafts and what are certainly several later copies in Lincoln’s own hand, there are many arguments about exactly what Lincoln said. Gabor Boritt, in his book “The Gettysburg Gospel,” has a thirty-page appendix that compares what Lincoln (probably) read at the memorial with what people heard and reported. Most of the differences are small, and due to understandable confusions—“The world will little note nor long remember what we say here” became in some reports “The world will little heed what we say here”—or to impatience on the part of a reporter. (The Centralia Sentinel, of Lincoln’s home state, wanting nothing to do with fancy talk, had the speech begin, simply, “Ninety years ago . . .”)

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