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HPB on "thin oblong squares" as found in the original edition of THE VOICE

May 06, 2003 10:17 AM
by Daniel H. Caldwell

Wes recently wrote on this forum:

". . . when Judge reprinted 'The Voice of the Silence' in New York in
1893, he did some minor editing and rearranged the footnotes to 
appear on the text pages instead of at the back of the book. So, when 
The Theosophy Company went to re-publish the Voice, there were two 
editions to choose from: Blavatsky's and Judge's. Which one should we 
have published? HPB's 'original' text, or Judge's edition which was a 
bit easier to use? The Theosophy Company editors apparently decided 
to use Judge's, relying on his known skill as an editor." 

But compare the above with what Dallas wrote previously on this forum:

"In U.L.T. I don't have t[o] worry -- the originals are available on 
a reliable basis. . . . Personally I would rather deal with 
H.P.Blavatsky's 'mistakes' than with those created by others who have 
had the temerity to believe they knew better than she did, and had 
the audacity to introduce changes which she did not authorize. Strong 
language, but true if it is applicable."

A detailed example of the "minor(?) editing" Judge did can be found 
in the following article:

"Thin Oblong Squares" pp. 1-4

As the writer observes later in the same article:

"Clearly then, this is no mistake [by HPB], no idle phrase or term 
that HPB is using in the Voice. So again, one might ask why [did 
Judge] change it in the Voice Of The Silence, why [did he] remove the 
word 'squares' to leave the phrase 'thin oblongs'?"

To paraphrase Dallas' "strong language," did Judge have the temerity 
to believe he knew better than she did? Did he have the audacity to 
introduce changes which she did not authorize?

Probably, when Dallas was using his "strong language", he was 
referring to Besant, Mead or de Zirkoff and their "editing" of 
H.P.B.'s writings. But what's good for the goose is good for the 
gander, right?

It would appear from the article that H.P. Blavatsky knew exactly 
what she was doing when she wrote "thin oblong squares." 

In this instance Judge's "minor editing" created a new mistake; it 
was not a mistake by HPB!

Daniel H. Caldwell

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