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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gene Wolfe's Horn on not correcting mistakes

I should go back and line out my mistake, I suppose, but I hate lining things out -- it gives the page such an ugly appearance. Besides, to line out is to accept responsibility for the correctness of all that is let stand. To correct that or any other error would be to invite you to ask me (when you read this, as I hope you soon will) why I failed to correct some other. And I cannot correct all or even most of them without tearing the whole account to shreds and starting again. My new account, moreover, would be bound to be worse than this, since I could not prevent myself from attributing to myself knowledge an opinions I did not have at the time the events I recorded occurred. No, there really are such things as honest mistakes; this account is full of them, and I intend to leave it that way. (Gene Wolfe, Return to the Whorl: Volume Three of the Book of the Short Sun. New York: Tor, 2001p. 184)


This is Horn writing, with a quill pen, so that there is no wonder that he doesn't want to "line out" an inconsequential error. But it's also interesting philosophy. Horn is the supposed author of seven books by Wolfe, his books of the Long Sun, and of the Short Sun.

Thanks for reading.

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