Skip to main content
Read page text

Page Text

These deletions have not, however, been used in the editorial process and I have not restored material that the author decided to omit.

There is also a typescript of 67 pages (top copy and carbon) marked ‘Reynard the Fox. Typescript’.3 I suspect this may comprise the first typescript version although a number of leaves were later re-typed since some strikes of occasional letters show sufficient differences in alignment from the other typescripts. There are a small number of authorial corrections.

A second typescript of 67 pages (top copy and carbon) is marked ‘Typescript from which it was set in America’.4 There are a small number of authorial corrections.

A third typescript of 67 pages (mostly top copy) is marked ‘Typescript from which it was set in England’ with an ink stamp from William Heinemann noting that it was received on 6 June 1919.5 This is marked with a series of names, presumably those of the compositors. There are a small number of authorial corrections.

Another source of material comprises a set of undated bound galley proofs marked ‘American Proofs’ in which two pages appear side by side on each leaf.6 These include no significant markings. It is assumed that any proofs annotated by the author were returned to the printers.

The typescripts reveal errors on the part of the typist that, unnoticed, appear in the published text. Yet there are also examples of substantive corrections that appear within the typescripts.

It must be assumed, therefore, that Masefield corrected each typescript (usually, but not always, with the same changes) and changed American and English proofs separately. Variants therefore abound between different versions. My editorial intention has been to produce a text based on the manuscript but informed by the three typescript versions, American proof and first American and English editions. I have chosen to ignore all subsequent publications of the poem during Masefield’s lifetime.

In Masefield’s manuscript, division into stanzas is frequently shown by a horizontal line (with two vertical dashes at the centre). These divisions were rendered in the typescript as three asterisks and tend to be preserved in the English first edition by a series of four asterisks. For this edition I have chosen to remove all marking of stanza divisions except the standard convention of a blank line, although instructions for text to start on a new page have been followed. To conform with modern practice, single quote marks have replaced double. I have retained a distinct feature of Masefield’s diction. One rather opinionated critic has complained against Masefield’s ‘maddening quaintness of spelling, such as his xvi

Skip to main content