Today I saw Baudelaire’s line “Hypcocrite lecteur, mon semblable, mon frère” quoted as “Mon hypocrite lecteur, mon frère, mon semblable.” Also, Mallarmé’s “Un coup de dés” cited as a “sonnet.” WTF? These examples from critics I respect (otherwise). It show that none of us is immune from boneheaded mistakes. As though Baudelaire would put an extra syllable in his alexandrine!
A critic I know credited another professor (also a friend of mine) in her book for telling her that that line came from Baudelaire and was also in the Waste Land. Well yeah. I would be too embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know that. Come on. Why should the reader give credence to a scholar who has to be told that? I admire the lack of ego, in a way. Thanks to Professor Y who told me that Nevada was east of California. The impulse to acknowledge help is a good one, but you cannot undermine your own authority past a certain point.