Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Baron Marbot's Memoirs, a footnote examined

This footnote, so far, gathers information that's been available in many other editions of Mrs. Dalloway, so I'm not presenting it to you as a sign of my research. Instead, it's an occasion to think about the choices every editor must confront. Here is the draft note as I have it:

48.23-24 Baron Marbot's Memoirs: Jean Baptiste Antoine Marcelin, Baron de Marbot (1782-1854), French general who accompanied Napoleon on his disastrous retreat from Moscow in 1812. A. J. Butler translated his memoirs into English in 1892 (3 vols.), with an abridged, one-volume, version appearing in 1893, and a new version in 1897. 
Looking at it yesterday, I deleted a comment that I had previously accepted from another editor, to the effect that Clarissa is likely reading from the abridgment. Why? How on earth might we guess that she is reading the abridged Marbot? The whole point of her reading is that she sleeps alone, doesn't have an intimate relationship with her husband anymore and, all in all, prefers about reading about a humiliating, (and frigid) Napoleonic defeat. If you're choosing Marbot over intimacy, why not go for the three volume version?

1 comment:

genevieve said...

Heh!! that's great, Anne.