Biggest Blunder in Literary History?

The following is the opening of a book review, as published in the Washington Post:

What are some of the biggest blunders in literary history?

John Sutherland, a professor of modern English literature at University College London, knows.

There is Shakespeare's gaffe of endowing Bohemia with a coastline in The Winter's Tale (a play also notable for its famous stage direction "Exit pursued by a bear").


In The Antiquary, Sir Walter Scott had the sun rise in the east.

From a review of Curiosities of Literature: A Feast For Book Lovers, by John Sutherland. Review by Dennis Drabelle.

We suppose that idiot Sir Walter had the sun set in the west, too!



Do you wonder how such a stupid error makes it into print? Well, consider that after this was published I got a lot of e-mail exclaiming, "But the sun does rise in the east and set in the west! That's not a blunder!!" -- completely missing the point that calling those facts an error is, in fact, a big blunder. Hello? Well, "You can lead a reader to fodder, but you can't make him think." —Randy Cassingham

Posted September 14, 2009

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