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Feedback and Corrections Gratefully Accepted!

One of the joys of the Internet is the ease with which individuals can come into contact and improve each other. Traffic on my site is heavy, so I'm doubly fortunate; many of you have seen fit to help out: you want to report a broken link, fix it, or correct any of the many errors I must surely be making, or add useful or interesting information. For this I am grateful! and thanks to people like you, this resource continues to improve.

So . . . If you've found a typo or a factual error, by all means let me know: I will often correct it within a few minutes of receiving your mail ▸ especially if you include "typo" in your subject line. But read on:

  1. Do make sure that it's an actual mistake. For example, my site reproduces many texts written or edited by other people, often several hundred years ago: spellings and opinions may well have been quite different then. Often enough a curious spelling or turn of phrase, not due to me and carefully checked, is indicated by a comment in my sourcecode — "<!-- sic -->" or something similar.

  2. Check the homepage of that particular section (i.e., for a chapter of Smollett, check Smollett's homepage, etc.) where there is usually a section on proofreading. You should also find there the full bibliographical details: author, edition, publisher, date of publication, etc. If you do not, please let me know; but if it's there, e‑mail berating me for not providing it, or other information found there, will go unanswered.

  3. If I didn't write the text, it would be historically inaccurate for us to correct it. This is true even if there is a real error of fact: the best we can do is add a footnote; see for example this note to Pliny's Natural History. Even my own diary is really only a slightly special case, in which we've got to stay honest: if I thought something when I first wrote and you or I now know it to be wrong, the best we'll manage is a footnote, as in this example, where a reader repaired my ignorance about St. Catherine of Siena.

If you're referring to a specific page, would you also save me some trouble and please tell me which one? "On my site" might mean on any one of about 11,500 pages. (Similarly, my homepage is here; anything else, no matter what it looks like, is not the homepage, but merely the introductory page to some subsection of the site.)

My e‑mail address is
My e‑mail address is given here as an image. It is 'petworth' followed by the 'at'-sign, followed by 'penelope' then by 'uchicago.edu' 

As of February 1, 2013 — I regret that an overwhelming volume of spam has necessitated this — you must include "Bill Thayer" or "William Thayer" in the e‑mail address, as above for example. If you do not, your e‑mail will be automatically deleted before I ever see it: I won't even be aware that you sent it, nor will it be bounced back to you.


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Page updated: 14 Jun 13