University of Virginia Library

Compounded Error

Whereas Table 1 expresses F's success as against its inaction in correcting Q3, it takes no account of actual failures. On nine occasions F compounds an error in Q3 which it apparently undertakes to correct. These are as follows:[17]


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TLN  Q1  Q2  Q3  F1 
1.1.71  82  spoke, or thou  spoke, or thou  spoke, or what  spoken, or 
canst worse  canst  thou canst  thou canst 
2.1.18  659  whose taste the  whose state the  of his state: 
wise are found  wise are found  then there are 
2.2.3  955  life-harming  half-harming  selfe-harming 
2.2.103  1058  there no  there two  there 
3.3.17  1601  our heads  your heads  your head 
3.3.119  1706  princesse  a Prince  a Prince, is 
3.4.24  1834  come  commeth  comes 
4.1.41  1964  to see that  I to see the  to see the 
5.3.63  2562  held  hald  had 
This category may contain readings where the promptbook has been consulted but inadequately represented or even readings where the promptbook differed from Q1, though one would not expect either of these to occur regularly. In other respects the group of nine should indicate lines which escaped collation. If the annotator overlooked a quarto error, which was then noticed by the compositor setting up the line, the compositor could either consult the manuscript himself, or correct on his own initiative. Compound errors could, of course, only occur if the compositor chose the second of these two options, and the presence of such errors in Richard II (and other Folio texts) suggests that re-consultation of the manuscript in such circumstances was rare, or non-existent. Indeed it is possible that the manuscript could not be consulted, because it was not in the printing house.

The small number of compounded errors is itself significant when compared with the number of correct restorations of the Q1 reading. But to compare figures directly would be misleading, if the hypothesis of relatively well-corrected areas of text has any validity: one would need to examine in turn the situation inside and outside those areas.