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 Plot It Yourself (1959) 
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New post Plot It Yourself (1959)
You're invited to use this topic to discuss the quotations from Plot It Yourself a.k.a. Murder in Style (1959) – a Nero Wolfe novel by Rex Stout.

You may also use this thread for general discussions about this literary work; you do not necessarily need to discuss specific quotations.

Or, if you'd like to talk about anything else related to Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin, or Rex Stout, feel free to create a new discussion topic.


Last edited by Faterson on Fri, 27 Jul 2007, 6:36, edited 1 time in total.

Fri, 20 Jul 2007, 21:17
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New post What if your name were Porphyro?
Wow - you remind me of Jane Ogilvy in this novel :wink: I was just about to open this thread, because I have submitted some quotes (around 20, my largest input to date! The format may need tinkering with, however, sorry to keep leaving the technicalities to you. And could you add a footnote linking number 14 to The Black Mountain, please? I tried, but couldn't work out how. Archie's versions of events clash here, because Wolfe didn't throw a fit when Marko died, quite the opposite. I shall post the relevant quote on that page, too, but I'm afraid I don't have any references.)

Absolutely love this novel - I'm not sure why Dol Bonner is thrown in, but the story is incredibly neat and tricky! And I love how Wolfe's professional pride ties him in knots when it all goes wrong. Plus, there are some nice asides from Fritz, and poor Stebbins is tortured once again by Archie's talent for finding corpses! :D

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Fri, 20 Jul 2007, 21:37
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New post Re: What if your name were Porphyro?
AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
The format may need tinkering with, however, sorry to keep leaving the technicalities to you.

No problem :!: This is a wiki site – you may safely ignore technicalities and any other site contributor can fill them in later on. 8)

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
And could you add a footnote linking number 14 to The Black Mountain, please?

I've just done that. Congratulations, Adonis, on having spotted the inconsistency; I for one never noticed this while reading The Black Mountain and Plot It Yourself.

I've also inserted a footnote in the The Black Mountain quotation you posted, to point back to the disputed statement in Plot It Yourself.

Adonis, what you've just discovered is exactly what I had in mind when writing about The Value of Cross-References in my recent message to the Nero Wolfe discussion mailing list at Yahoo. :idea:

Thanks a lot, Adonis, also for launching the The Black Mountain collection of quotes by means of highlighting the discrepancy. 8) For the time being, I've added a quote of my own choice to complement your excerpts from both The Black Mountain and Plot It Yourself, and I'll be adding many more excerpts later on. I'm really looking forward to discovering how many of our quotes will overlap. :D

As of today, 21 July 2007, we have 9 active collections of Nero Wolfe quotations. In other words, there are 38 Nero Wolfe volumes left to go. 8) We're making much faster progress than originally expected :!: Many thanks to everyone.

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
I tried, but couldn't work out how.

Adding footnotes is easy :!: Simply enclose whatever you want to say in a footnote in the <ref> tag, like this:

Code:
<ref>This is the text of my footnote.</ref>

If you happen to be the first person who is adding a footnote to a particular webpage, you also need to create the Comments section for that webpage, so that the webpage knows where it should display the footnote you've just posted. Creating the Comments section is very easy, too :!: Simply insert, anywhere, the following word within the double pair of curly brackets:

Code:
{{Comments}}

Wherever on the webpage you insert this thing, that's where your footnote will be displayed. 8)

Of course, if you're merely adding a footnote to a webpage that already contains an active Comments section, you can forget about {{Comments}} and you can simply use <ref>This is my footnote</ref>. :idea:

It's easy, isn't it :?: If there's anything more that needs to be clarified, or if the above needs to be explained again in different words, or explained in more detail, please don't hesitate to ask :!:

I don't mean just Adonis but anyone who'd like to contribute to analyzing quotations by means of footnotes. That is one of those things these webpages were set up for. 8)


Sat, 21 Jul 2007, 16:13
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New post 
BTW one more detail, Adonis: can you check your controversial quote from page 125 (page 110 in my edition) again? The wording you posted was:

Quote:
He had roared like that when he had heard that Marko had been killed

(my emphasis) whereas my edition has:

Quote:
He had roared like that when he heard that Marko had been killed

Can you check if it's really had heard in your edition :?: (Although I fail to see how grammar nuances could correct the apparent contradiction in what Archie writes in the two novels.)

I've also noticed some other minor differences between your (British) and my (US) edition of the novel. For example, the first quote from page 30 (page 24 in my edition) contains the word sledgehammer in your edition, but it's sledge hammer in my version of the text. :wink: That's pretty negligible, I'm sure, although it might be interesting to learn the explanation of how such differences could arise: after all, the two editions we're using were published almost simultaneously (yours is from 1959, and mine is from 1960).


Sat, 21 Jul 2007, 17:03
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New post Tomato, to-mah-to
Faterson wrote:
That's pretty negligible, I'm sure, although it might be interesting to learn the explanation of how such differences could arise: after all, the two editions we're using were published almost simultaneously (yours is from 1959, and mine is from 1960).


Oopsies on my part, I'm afraid, one accidental and one thumbing my nose at the existing text: I'm no Archie, and sometimes my fingers fly faster than my brain can process the words, so I included an extra 'had' in that sentence about Marko (I wish I could touch type, but I have to look, type, look, type, look ... :wink: ); and I just think 'sledgehammer' looks better than 'sledge hammer'! I sometimes push words together that Stout divides with a dash, too, because it's easier and looks neater. But as you say, both are negligible - the extra 'had' is grammatical, and if the spellcheck on my PC missed 'sledgehammer', then I'm happy!

I've also noticed that Stout used 'swop' instead of 'swap' on one occasion, which I fortunately didn't feel inclined to record for posterity (I would have altered that, too!); 'kidnapping' was spelt with one 'p', which doesn't look right; and he doesn't use enough commas for my liking, although I usually restrain myself and follow the book with those. What can I say? :wink:

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Sat, 21 Jul 2007, 20:35
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New post Re: Tomato, to-mah-to
AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
I included an extra 'had' in that sentence about Marko

OK, thanks for confirming. So, I made the right decision when I deleted that extra had on the occasion of inserting the footnote. :lol:

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
I wish I could touch type

Everyone should learn to touch-type :!: It's about a thousand times easier than learning to play piano. :P You're depriving yourself of months, possibly years of real life (unrelated to computers), and/or you're decreasing your productivity at work, if you slow down your typing speed by having to look at the keyboard intermittently... I can't emphasize it enough how important it is for everyone nowadays to learn to touch-type... :wink:

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
and I just think 'sledgehammer' looks better than 'sledge hammer'!

Oops! :oops: Hope you won't be offended, Adonis, but we're really not here to correct Rex Stout's spellings. These quotes pages are supposed to be 100% authentic.

You know, there's also historic value in your preserving the original spellings, punctuation, etc. One can learn a lot about the history of the English language that way.

Anyway, please let's not correct Rex Stout excerpts in any way; let's preserve each and every letter and punctuation sign as published in the Rex Stout book we're quoting from. :) This is one of the things I mean when I refer to the linguistic reliability of these webpages.

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
I sometimes push words together that Stout divides with a dash, too, because it's easier and looks neater.

Please let's not do this, Adonis. :) Again, I hope you're not offended. :lol: But I'll be restoring the original spellings wherever I spot a divergence; so, it would be best not to introduce those divergent spellings in the first place. 8)

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
he doesn't use enough commas for my liking, although I usually restrain myself and follow the book with those.

Please always restrain yourself, Adonis. :lol: Rex Stout would thank you from his grave. Please read what Nero Wolfe says about punctuation in our current novel, Plot It Yourself.

In one of the Bantam Books Rex Stout Library editions, there is an attachment – a photocopy of an irate letter Stout sent to one of the editors in his publishing house who presumed to correct his diction and/or punctuation.

Devoid of any false modesty, Rex Stout considered himself a master in the command of the English language, and I read a few comments made by him about why Archie does not use as many commas as are dictated by traditional grammar rules. This is all his intention, Stout insists – it's not neglect or ignorance of punctuation rules on his part. And Stout tended to become abusive towards any editors who presumed to correct his diction and/or punctuation. I for one have full understanding for him. 8)

So, let's preserve the quotations in 100% the form as they were published by Rex Stout. Is that OK with you, Adonis :?:

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
I've also noticed that Stout used 'swop' instead of 'swap' on one occasion, which I fortunately didn't feel inclined to record for posterity (I would have altered that, too!); 'kidnapping' was spelt with one 'p', which doesn't look right

These particular instances may be something different: I've noticed myself that in British editions of Stout's books, sometimes the British spellings of certain words or verb forms are preferred over American spellings. These variations were probably introduced by the British publishing houses; wherever possible, these webpages will try to follow the US editions of Rex Stout's books.

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
But as you say, both are negligible

Negligible, in a way (most anything in life may be seen as “negligible”, depending on your perspective :wink:), but once established as errors (= divergencies from what Stout really wrote/published), they are no longer tolerable. :lol: They will be corrected to conform to the goal of these webpages: to strive for 100% authenticity of the quoted excerpts of great literature. 8)

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
the extra 'had' is grammatical, and if the spellcheck on my PC missed 'sledgehammer', then I'm happy!

:wink: I hope you don't mind I deleted the extra had and restored the sledge hammer. After all, these webpages are not about what's correct grammar nowadays (2007). They're meant to quote whatever the original author wrote in his or her own day. :D

Please forgive, Adonis, if I harp on this subject too much. But it's one of those things that seem crucial to me regarding the direction these webpages are to take. :)


Sat, 21 Jul 2007, 21:16
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New post Re: Tomato, to-mah-to
Faterson wrote:
Please forgive, Adonis, if I harp on this subject too much. But it's one of those things that seem crucial to me regarding the direction these webpages are to take. :)


Fair enough on the quotes, I see your point - I really only pleased myself for myself, as these quotes are originally from my own collection - but Stout sounds incredibly arrogant! And a hypocrite - here's a man who insists that commas and words remain exactly as he placed them, and yet he can't be bothered to check back on basic details about his own characters? No wonder I like the stories but not the author! :P (Why I'm keeping schtum in the Rex Stout thread!)

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Sat, 21 Jul 2007, 21:23
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New post Re: Tomato, to-mah-to
AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
Stout sounds incredibly arrogant!

Haha... We can only conjecture, as we haven't met Mr. Stout in person, but didn't we mention, multiple times on these pages, that Nero Wolfe was one of Rex Stout's two alter egos :?: Well, it's interesting that Stout was capable of depicting an extremely arrogant person of Wolfe's calibre so faithfully and intimately, isn't it? :oops: :twisted: :lol: :P

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
And a hypocrite - here's a man who insists that commas and words remain exactly as he placed them, and yet he can't be bothered to check back on basic details about his own characters?

Well, that doesn't seem to be untypical behaviour for the geniuses of this world. :lol: Remember, Stout's IQ was (confirmed and official) over 190, and no guy with such an astronomic IQ will be easily lectured by us ordinary humans, right? :twisted:

AdonisGuilfoyle wrote:
No wonder I like the stories but not the author! :P

There's a great statement by Germany's most important literary critic of the 20th century, Marcel Reich-Ranicki:

Marcel Reich-Ranicki wrote:
There are only two kinds of writers: talented and talentless bastards. [Es gibt nur zwei Arten von Schriftstellern: Schweine mit und ohne Talent.]

In other words, one should have no illusions about what pleasant, agreeable and courteous personalities most writers of genius are. :lol:


Sat, 21 Jul 2007, 21:39
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