Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Word of the day: emendation

The word of the day is emendation:

Etymology:  < Latin ēmendātiōn-em, noun of action < ēmendāre to emend v.
The action of emending.
1. Correction, reformation, improvement (of life, conduct, etc.). Obs.
2. a. Improvement by alteration and correction; esp. of literary or artistic products, methods of procedure, scientific systems, etc.; a particular instance of such improvement.
b. esp. The correction (usually by conjecture or inference) of the text of an author where it is presumed to have been corrupted in transmission; a textual alteration for this purpose. (OED)

"West's proposed emendations to the texts are couched in the meticulous language of classical scholarship, and take the form of suggestions and proposals; perhaps because Mitchell is not a classicist, he is emboldened to cast West's vision in stone.  His new translation not only deletes passages that West merely brackets or questions but omits even some passages that West thinks were 'expansions' by P himself."

 - Daniel Mendelsohn, "Battle lines: a slimmer, faster Iliad", 7 November 2011 The New Yorker

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