Talk:Langdon Smith

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Our official 10,000th article[edit]

I'd been meaning to do an article for Langdon Smith (and many others) for some time, but as we approached a myriad articles, I thought it was finally time to get around to doing it, as I thought the theme of Smith's most famous work fit well with the funciton of the Wikimedia wikis. I gradually edited it mostly over the last few days based on work I had begun months ago, and then kept careful track of the main page counter and posted it at the proper time (or kairos) for it to become our official 10,000th article. As I mentioned at the Village Pump, I really had no great wish to be identified as it's author, but I did want something noteworthy for the article and not something extremely trivial or embarrassing, created by mere chance, or even by a vandal. Now that we have reached this point, it is good to reflect that myriads more quote pages are yet to be built, and encourage others to join us in the effort of doing the best we can in making them truly worthy of attention. ~ Kalki 18:53, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Some info on "Evolution"[edit]

I was aware that there were a few notable variants in some early publications of the poem, while Smith was alive, and there may be some corruptions that have occured since. Here is some of the information I have been able to gather.

Early printing history:

Additional lines not found in any previous known publication occurred in the version published in The Book of Poetry (1927) edited by Edwin Markham:

For we know the clod, by the grace of God
Will quicken with voice and breath;
And we know that Love, with gentle hand
Will beckon from death to death.

It is not known.whether these lines existed in the second newspaper publication, of which there are no known copies, nor whether they had been originally edited out by Smith or by some other editors. ~ Kalki 23:29, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Why the bold?[edit]

Am I missing something or is there no explanation as to why certain lines are in bold? - dcljr 05:10, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Bolding has long been used here to emphasis more generally quoted or quotable statements within larger passages provided for greater context. ~ 13:58, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Why not use the most probably authorized version?[edit]

The version copied into the article by Kalki in 2007 has a couple of paragraphs missing, and also some transpositions. From the available evidence, Langdon Smith updated the poem at intervals, and it's most probable that the 1909 book version, Evolution: A Fantasy, (from which Kalki quotes the commentary by Lewis Allen Brown, that volume's editor) is what Smith (about a year dead by then) would have considered to be the authoritative one. It's certainly the most coherent, and the one which brings the poem up above sentimental verse. Why not use that version of the poem, rather than the present garbled one? And put the spurious unauthorized addition to a footnote? BTW, the "full text" at wikisource is overfull, as it includes the spurious quatrain for no good reason and without comment.

I don't mean in any way to disparage Kalki's original work on the article. - Mahnut 04:58, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

The quotes used here were never intended to represent the complete poem, though they provide a large portion of it, and the variants which I selected were some that I have most commonly encountered or preferred: The rendition at Wikisource was made from what sources I could find, as I indicated in the discussion page for that article, and where in addition to the comments and info provided in the section above, I also mentioned that:
Other than the inclusion of these additional lines I tend to prefer the wording of the 1909 version, especially the fuller last line ("Let us drink anew to the time when you Were a tadpole and I was a fish" rather than the more clipped "Let us drink anew to the time when you Were a tadpole — and I, a fish!"
~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 07:01, 4 August 2010 (UTC) & 20:49, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

I don't mean to be argumentative, but the page seems more like a particular interpretation rather than a straightforward presentation of the poem. I've turned this reply over in my mind for a day; I believe I'm pushing for neutrality rather than another preferential treatment. Even with the incomplete history and unranked versions I think a more impartial treatment, which would include the missing stanzas, would better serve wikipedia users. The recasting could be done based on the research you've alluded to in the discussion as well as that appearing in the article itself. Mahnut 15:02, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

I generally don't mind additions being made at all, so long as there are no copyright violations, and despite extensive quotations from this work, as it is no longer under copyright that is no problem, but removals are such things as I usually have more objections to. Generally when there are published variants to lines or stanzas these can be placed in the comment sections below the primary quotations of such stanzas, and we perhaps would contend over which of these are preferred as the primary versions. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 13:56, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Regretfully, I'm going to drop out of this discussion; I've had no little difficulty in finding my way around wikipedia, wikiquote, & the various talk pages, and will have to study more so that I can navigate & work more efficiently. Changes to the treatment of the poem in both the 'pedia and 'quote articles would lead us into long discussions based on interpretation only. Given the paucity of primary sources, any changes would be the result only of one opinion prevailing over the other. I've put a note in the discussion at Langdon Smith (wikipedia) summarizing my views. Thanks for corresponding about this. The exercise has been a help to me - at least I now know the that 'pedia and 'quote have different user:talk pages! - Mahnut 20:34, 6 August 2010 (UTC)