And then there’s the revelation that Jane Austen’s stylistic elegance might have owed rather more to her editors than we previously believed. Although the canon must be defended at all costs; so Kathryn Sutherland suggests that revelations of dodgy punctuation and idiosyncratic grammar
...reveal Austen to be an experimental and innovative writer, constantly trying new things... even better at writing dialogue and conversation than the edited style of her published novels suggest.So she’s still a great author – just a completely different great author from the one we’ve always believed her to be.
PS: Of course, the most cogent response to either of these is as follows:
The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is an indispensable companion to all those who are keen to make sense of life in an infinitely complex and confusing universe. For though it cannot hope to be useful or informative on all matters, it does make the reassuring claim that where it is inaccurate, it is at least definitively inaccurate. In cases of major discrepancy it is always reality that’s got it wrong. So, for instance, when the Guide was sued by the families of those who had died as a result of taking the entry on the planet Traal literally – it said “Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts often make a very good meal for visiting tourists” instead of “Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts often make a very good meal of visiting tourists” – the editors claimed that the first version of the sentence was the more aesthetically pleasing; summoned a qualified poet to testify under oath that beauty was truth, truth beauty, and hoped thereby to prove that the guilty party in this case was life itself for failing to be either beautiful or true.