BL: gerrymander
Posted: 17 September 2013 05:35 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Another classic that I can’t believe I haven’t done before.

The OED can be antedated by about a month on this one, and I was surprised to discover that Gilbert Stuart, who is regularly credited with the drawing in very respectable reference sources, had nothing to do with it. Proving true once again the aphorism, “say it often enough, and people will start to believe it.”

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Posted: 17 September 2013 06:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I was surprised to discover that Gilbert Stuart, who is regularly credited with the drawing in very respectable reference sources, had nothing to do with it.

That’s not what you wrote in the entry itself, which was:

The drawing was probably a creation of engraver Elkanah Tisdale, and not painter Gilbert Stuart who is often given credit.

I have bolded the word which makes it seem unfair to mock those who credit Stuart with the drawing.  If you can prove it wasn’t him, that’s one thing, but “probably” butters no parsnips.

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Posted: 17 September 2013 06:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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There is a fair bit of evidence that Tisdale is indeed the creator of the original image, outlined in the Martin article I cited. In contrast, there is nothing to back up the Stuart claim except repeated assertions of the fact. (To be fair, some of these are quite early.) I didn’t go into details because it’s tangential to the word’s origin.

But the earliest scholarly accounts of the word’s creation, some fifty years after the fact, credit Tisdale with the drawing. The original woodcuts survive and are in the Library of Congress, and they are consistent with Tisdale’s work. I’m not aware of Stuart doing any woodcuts, or if he did they were so few that they don’t get mentioned by most sources on his life. (But I’m no art historian and could be wrong on this last.)

Nor do I think my tone was “mocking.” The problem of unsubstantiated conventional wisdom being repeated by eminent scholars is well established. One checks a respectable source or two, finds what one thought to be the facts reflected there, and thinks no more of it. Nearly everyone does it from time to time. (Including me, although I make no claims of eminence.)

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Posted: 17 September 2013 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Never heard of Gerry being pronounced with a hard-g. Interesting. Was this quite common back then?

Reminds me a bit of other cases of people who pronounced their name one way, while everyone now pronounces it another, e.g.
Robert Menzies (called himself /mɪŋɪs/, everyone calls him /menzi:s/
JP Joule (called himself /dʒaʊl/, we call him /dʒuːl/ )

and of course poor old Laurence Olivier

EDT: The good Dr Techie has reminded me that this is not so, about Joule.

[ Edited: 17 September 2013 02:49 PM by OP Tipping ]
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Posted: 17 September 2013 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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JP Joule (called himself /dʒaʊl/, we call him /dʒuːl/ )

OP! OP!  OP!

We’ve covered this before: see this thread, pages 4 and 5.

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Posted: 17 September 2013 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Well I’m allowed to reiterate, surely. This Gerry case is another example of the phenomenon we discuss in that thread.

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Posted: 17 September 2013 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Certainly you’re allowed to reiterate, but not to reiterate misinformation (at least not without adverse comment).

I take it you didn’t go back and read the thread I referenced.  He didn’t call himself /dʒaʊl/, he called himself /dʒuːl/, just as most people now pronounce the energy unit named for him.

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Posted: 17 September 2013 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Oh, right (blushes).

Scratch that about Joule, then.

I’m happy with my limerick, though.

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