The New Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson

MS transcription; mis- and dis- (cont.)

with 2 comments

In the 1873-74 Notebook (Beinecke A265) containing the series of ‘Thoughts’ published as ‘Selections from His Notebook’ (both are supplied titles), we find ‘acquisition’

this has the linking line after ‘s’ made by lifing the pen and making a short horizontal line that aims to leave from the curve of the ‘s’ but which (in my opinion) often leaves a gap and looks like a hyphen. In this case, the link line can continue straight into the ‘i’, but in the case of left-facing small bowl letters (a, c, d, e, g, o, q) the pen has to be lifted again with the risk of leaving another little space. Hence, in my opinion forms that look like ‘dis-cussion’ etc., but where (imho) no hyphen is intended.

A single example with a non-small-bowl letter (e.g. *dis-like, or *mis-take) would disprove this – so far, we have not found one, though we have found what looks like ‘dis-ciple’ where clearly no hyphen is intended.

1 November 2013: looking at Notebook 52 (Yale, GM 664 box 34 folder 819), on p. 1 there is a word that looks like ‘wis-dom’, i.e. another proof that we are dealing here with a context-dependent link line in Stevenson’s cursive script, not a hyphen.

14 July 2015: in the MS of ‘A Winter’s Walk in Carrick and Galloway’ (Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin, Manuscript Collection MS-4035, Box 1 Folder 7, f. 6) we have an example of ‘as-cending’ which shows clearly we are dealing with a link-line:

Screenshot 2015-07-14 08.09.06


2 Responses

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  1. In the 1880 ‘Essays, Reflections and Remarks on Human Life’ MS, there is ‘dis-cipline’: this strengthens my feeling that we are dealing not with a hyphen but with a link line dependent on the context of certain letter sequences.


    07/05/2013 at 4:48 am

  2. […] these marks have been interpreted as a non-significant link line; see this post in the blog and this one for a discussion. Barry defends his view in one of the comments to another […]

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