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The Quarterclift;  or  The Life and Adventures of Hudy McGuigan,  by Hugh Harkin

published in booklet form 1841; published in facsimile 1993 by Ballinascreen Historical Society
(144pp, + brief introduction and notes)
available from Ballinascreen Historical Society, Draperstown, Co Derry

an edited transcript, with notes and a glossary

characters may replace dashes in the original publication,
 eg "Lord Caledon" replaces "Lord C──n"

Why has the text been transcribed ?

The transcriber loves the Hudy McGuigan stories, and wants to make Hugh Harkin's telling of them more accessible.

Why has the text been edited ?

Ballinascreen Historical Society did a great job tracing a copy of the booklet published in 1841, and then producing a facsimile of it; but a modern reader still requires quite some determination to plough through the scene-setting and the numerous purple passages - not to mention the sometimes strangely-transcribed Irish words, and the frequent use of local dialect.

The 1841 publication had clearly been rushed: the booklet ends in the middle of a sentence in Chapter XIX; each of Chapters III, IV & V has no title; two of the chapter-divisions have been omitted - the text of Chapter XIV runs continuously (with a footnote indicating where Chapter XV should have started) until suddenly the reader is confronted with Chapter XVII.  Some Chapters are far longer than others.  And it soon becomes frustrating that many characters have only dashes for names, possibly because in 1841 they (if still living) or their families might have been offended if their names appeared in print.

How has the text been edited ?

Hugh Harkin gave one guiding principle in a footnote in Chapter III:

"It has been suggested that the Irish phrases should be written so as to correspond as nearly as possible with the sounds: this course will be pursued hereafter."

So spellings are left unchanged if they seem to be an attempt to render pronunciation, whether of Irish or of local dialect or of personal articulation; and spellings which are uncommon today are left unchanged if they were common in earlier times.  Much guidance has been found in the online Dictionary of the Scots Language.

Hugh Harkin is inconsistent in his spelling of honor/honour, favorite/favourite etc; the transcriber has probably been equally inconsistent in following or not following Hugh Harkin.  Some spellings have been quietly changed so as not to throw the reader unnecessarily, eg develope and developement have lost the 'e' after the 'p'; and Shakespeare has gained his third 'e'.

Punctuation has often been changed, most often by removing commas.  The aim has been to allow the text to flow as smoothly as possible; an excess of punctuation slows comprehension, sometimes making it hard for a reader to join in the often brisk pace of the action.

The division of the text into paragraphs has sometimes been changed.  Hugh Harkin, especially in his wordy purple passages, seems occasionally to forget to allow the reader the relief which can be provided by paragraph breaks; and in passages of direct-speech dialogue the 1841 typesetter sometimes becomes erratic.

Chapters III, IV and V have been given titles.  Chapter XIV has been subdivided, as it is still too long even after Chapter XV has been allowed to start at a point indicated by a footnote in Chapter XIV.  Chapter XVI has been started at what seems to be a suitable point, and has been given a title.  Chapter XVII has been subdivided.

Names of persons or places replace dashes wherever possible.  Sometimes it has been perfectly obvious who was intended, for example "Mr Stevenson of Fort William" (the transcriber's 4xgreat grand-uncle!); other individuals or places have proved harder to identify, so the dashes remain, or question-marks indicate a possible identification.

This page was last updated 7 Nov 2018