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Online Introduction to

The Teacher's Edition by E. S. Curtis of

Queed, A Novel,

By Henry Sydnor Harrison

This is the first novel on Elfinspell. It was quite fascinating to type. Since I don't read the text before I type it, the only way I could find out what happened next was to get cracking!

The Introduction and the Notes took a little longer. The fun stuff, the great story, is always the easiest part.

What is amazing is that this book was picked by Ms. Curtis to be a high school text in 1928. She added all the necessary tools, including notes and questions, along with a introduction that discusses Harrison’s life and a history of the novel in modern fiction; all to make this book an effective teaching tool. Today it would be a college level course.

Today, an added curiosity to be found in the text is the standard punctuation used at the period, which has been preserved in the online edition. That this standard is different in several ways from that of today is proof of the ongoing evolution of the American Language. I do not give an example here, so that you too can be startled when you see what, at first, seems to be a typo, and then find with further reading that it is correct for that era.

As usual, despite being edited by an English teacher, a few typos that were typos by any periods’ standards, managed to slip into the print edition. These have been emended. Despite several proofreading passes, more may now exist since the text was re-typed not scanned. Let me know, please.

Jeanie Bartolo was kind enough to point out several. I was only mildly humiliated, since I had proofed it line by line once already.

Consolation arrived when I learned of the Thayer-Eason Theory of the Origin of Internet Textual Errors.* The gist of this entrancing and stimulating new theory is this: The text DID have no typos after the second-proofreading when after stating this, it was placed online. The internet, however, is a giant alphabetical Petrie dish, and letters on webpages have intrinsic abecedarian germs that can spontaneously mutate. In the course of time then, any absolutely perfect page will undergo slow, insidious, steady, relentlessly diabolical yet subtle changes in punctuation and spelling.

The result is the odd tow for two, dog for god (or vice versa), sin or sex, for six, etc. This leads to shame, vilification and occasionally — via the last two examples— to a rise in page hits by the more salacious sort of site visitors.

This profound and valuable theory provides untold comfort to anguished webmasters who look at their webpages a few months after they typed them, and, seeing glaring typos, css or html errors, question their mental soundness, wonder if they are, in fact, imbeciles after all. Consequently, they then consider applying for disability for previously undetected learning disorders, etc.

Back to Queed:

Harrison wrote a great book and it was a pleasure to read it as I typed.

You may begin with the tale HERE, or click on NEXT below to go to the Introduction by Curtis which has some interesting tidbits on Harrison, who was still alive when Ms. Curtis wrote this.

Hope you enjoy this great escape!


*  This theory is in the pre-publication stages at this point, but the basic tenets were relayed in a private communication in March, 2007, and are used, with my tearful gratitude and new-found feelings of relief, salvation and self-esteem, with the permission of those brilliant men, Bill Thayer and James Eason.

© Copyright 2007 Elfinspell

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