Forensic Bibliography #5

The Problem of the Poetic Pellas or, What’s in a (Wrong) Name?

Is this a stake I see before me?

London, BL, MS Sloane 2430 (f.2v)

The study of martial literature, like any other topic with few followers, is prone to errors of citation and sourcing. These errors can persist to the point that they become their own sort of source. Repeated use makes them historical. I think the genre of historical martial arts is the easy target because much of the material that enthusiasts work with is well outside the typical scholarly territories anyway and few of these students have the source fetish that academics develop. The case-study today is the “poem of the pell.”

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Adventures in Forensic Bibliography #4: From the Cold Case File

The Case of the Silent Source, or, Dudley’s Dead End.

There are few irritations for the researcher as great as the statement made with  certainty regarding a  topic that is devoid of certainty, and without the common courtesy of citing a source. I ran into one of these little conundrums in Chris Skidmore’s Death and the Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I and the Dark Scandal That Rocked the Throne (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010).1 The breathless, tabloid style title should have warned me there was trouble, but alas the call of the bargain-book siren is hard to ignore.

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Adventures in Forensic Bibliography #3

The Case of the Cotton Collection Confusion, or, How Many Ways Can You Possibly Reference the Same Manuscript Incorrectly?

This case-study of bibliographic mystery is a companion piece to the first Adventure; it’s a variation on a citation error with the same manuscript.

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Adventures in Forensic Bibliography #1

Occasionally I engage on some tedious research that, I know, has little, if any, practical value. Yet I am incapable of resisting the urge to do the work. I find this occurs most often with odd citations or errors in documentation or sloppy references and I eventually spend hours tracking down a quote, primary source, obscure re-print, or an equally irrelevant detail, knowing all the while that I will never find a publishable use for such efforts.

A blog, however, is the perfect place to compile these irrelevancies. So, in what may become a recurring series here at PBS, I present the first episode in Adventures in Forensic Bibliography.

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