Lincoln the writer at 200: the statesman and orator constantly revised his prose
debaron at illinois.edu
Thu Feb 12 21:14:11 UTC 2009
There's a new post on the Web of Language:
Lincoln the writer at 200: the statesman and orator constantly revised
It is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, or to mix
19th- with 21st-century styles, the man whom CNN and Time would call
"16" was born ten score years ago today.
Lincoln's Birthday is a day that used to be a school holiday, a day to
honor Lincoln the emancipator, Lincoln the orator, and Lincoln the
martyr separate from Presidents Day, a holiday which serves as little
more than an excuse to go out and buy stuff – and so to add to the
many celebrations of Lincoln on this bicentennial anniversary, we
might also consider one of his lesser-known qualities: according to
Douglas L. Wilson, Abraham Lincoln was a constant reviser of his own
For example, the Library of Congress manuscript collection has three
versions of the Gettysburg Address.The "first draft," also called the
"Nicolay draft," because Lincoln gave that copy to one of his two
private secretaries, John Nicolay, was written on two pieces of paper
– a piece of executive mansion stationery and a sheet of lined note
paper. It may or may not have been the copy Lincoln read from at the
dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery, but it contains one autograph
correction at the bottom of the page:
Lincoln changed the original "It is rather for us, the living, to
stand here" to, "It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated
to the great task remaining before us."
See the rest of the ways that Lincoln championed the unstable text.
Read the post on the Web of Language:
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English
University of Illinois
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801
read the Web of Language:
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