Monday, 14 May 2012

Advice to students

I'm deep into the marking - one dissertation left to do, then it's the forty-odd English Renaissance pile, then further mountains of various others. One of the things that have hugely annoyed me this year has been the erroneous use of quotation: either simply badly typed, or deliberately distorted so that an innocent academic is misused to support something s/he never wrote.

Here's a little advice from Ælfric, a West Saxon monkish scribe and author from the turn of the first millennium:
Now I desire and beseech, in God's name, if anyone will transcribe this book, that he carefully correct it by the copy, lest we be blamed through careless writers. He does great evil who writes carelessly, unless he correct it. It is as though he turn true doctrine into false error. Therefore everyone should make straight that which he before bent crooked, if he will be guiltless at God's doom.

Sadly I don't have eternal damnation in the fires of hell as a sanction for lazy or dishonest students… though it's certainly deserved in the case of the one who told me that 'Paradise Lost is a post-modern novel'.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're out of touch! He is the heart throb of teenage girls who don't give a toss about athletes!