Unfair dismissal 1

January 29, 2009

In his recent review of the fifth volume of The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield (Books, 15 January), Jeffrey Meyers deplores what he calls "the atrocious editing of this volume". Isn't this a needlessly ungenerous comment about an editing project that has given scholars so much of value? He complains that there are "no accents on French words" - yet I found them exactly where I expected throughout the volume.

He complains that there are "no translations from Latin and French" - something that is unlikely to be an impediment to most readers of the book. Moreover, it is often the publisher that determines policy on translation. In any case, the only Latin phrase I recall seeing is "Deo Voluntate" (page 219) - which the editors gloss (unnecessarily in my opinion) as "God Willing".

The failure to identify "Iris Moffet" (sic) as "the flamboyant bohemian Iris Tree" is surely a very trivial matter - after all she is not mentioned in any of the major biographies (including that of Meyers). And I imagine many readers will recall Virginia Nicholson's treatment of Iris Tree in Among the Bohemians (2002).

Larry Mitchell

Department of English, Texas A&M University.

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