The Charge of the Light Apostrophe, or "their's" in Tennyson
Mark A. Mandel
mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Sat Jul 10 12:53:23 UTC 2004
I have just had the following exchange with Ian Lancashire, the General
Editor of Representative Poetry Online, of the University of Toronto Press
and the University's English Department.
#> In looking for the text of "The Charge of the Light Brigade" online I found
#> your page (http://eir.library.utoronto.ca/rpo/display/poem2116.html) among
#> others. Many of these pages, unfortunately including yours, have the same
#> error: "their's" for "theirs" in the second stanza. It is not in the
#> manuscript (http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/britpo/tennyson/TenChar.html).
#> It looks as if somebody typed up the poem and put it on the Internet and a
#> lot of other people copied it without credit and without examination. It
#> happens all the time, but it's no less regrettable for that.
#All I can say is that Tennyson published the poem as it stands in RPO. I
#took my text from the original printed edition. He decided not to use the
#manuscript reading you favour. Are you sure that he did not change his
I am surprised. I am not a Tennyson scholar. I have only known "their's" as
a very common error. I can only conclude that either
a. Tennyson made the same error, or
b. His editor or a proofreader or typesetter did, or
b. It was considered correct in his time.
Thank you for your reply and further information. I am going to forward this
correspondence to the discussion list of the American Dialect Society.
-- Mark A. Mandel, Research Administrator
Information Extraction from the Biomedical Literature
University of Pennsylvania
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