Harvard Takes the Less-Traveled, Error-Riddled Road

1201032885Last year, Harvard University Press published the personal notebooks of Robert Frost. The 809-page compendium has been generally well received. The guy who edited it, after all, Robert Faggen, spent five years on the project. But maybe he should have spent six.

Comes word today that the book contains “hundreds, if not thousands” of errors. James Sitar, who just completed his PhD at Boston University, says Faggen did a poor job transcribing Frost. Granted, Frost’s notebooks were often illegible scrawls, but Sitar isn’t the only one with a red pen. William Logan, an English professor at the University of Florida, writes in a soon-to-be-released essay:

Obliged though readers must be for this unknown Frost, the transcription is a scandal.

Harvard isn’t backing down; a spokeswoman says the school stands behind the book. One thing probably worth noting in all this, though: Frost never wanted his notebooks published. Maybe for good reason.