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Book Issues > Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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message 1: by Paula (new)

Paula (paulaan) | 7027 comments I decided to do some work on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Looking at the authorship there currently seems be a split between "Unknown" and "Anonymous"

So before I change can we have an agreement to which it belongs

Anonymous - because They are traditional stories not attributed to a specific author
Unknown - because no definitive author known


message 2: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 41701 comments Mod
I vote for Unknown. The original poem probably was not actually published anonymously; we simply no longer know who the author was.

(Alternatively, we could go with "Pearl Poet", but I'm not a big fan of that notion.)


message 3: by Paula (new)

Paula (paulaan) | 7027 comments I'm not a fan of "Pearl Poet" either and preferred Unknown and since I am inpatient, I am going with Unknown!


message 4: by Michael (new)

Michael | 262 comments When an edition has been translated into modern English, would you: i) list the translator first and Unknown second; ii) list Unknown first and the translator second; iii) just list the translator and not bother with Unknown?

If published in the original, the text is still likely to have a modern editor - same question as above.

If a modern translator or editor goes first on the list then, presumably, all editions of their volume would be combined under the translator's/editor's profile, not the Unknown profile - discuss :-D


message 5: by Abcdarian (last edited Sep 05, 2010 01:09PM) (new)

Abcdarian | 19392 comments IMVHO, the translator/editor should get top billing. It would seem unlikely that people would search for it by author Unknown; a title search would produce all editions & they probably vary, especially the translations. (J.R.R. Tolkien's is very nice.)


message 6: by Michael (new)

Michael | 262 comments Yes, that's my feeling, too.

But does Unknown get any billing? I think not, unless the translator/editor is also unknown, but I don't want to start removing Unknown from editions without some "official" sanction.


message 7: by Paula (new)

Paula (paulaan) | 7027 comments Please do not remove Unknown until agreement is reached - I started this thread to prevent the undoing / redoing of work.

I disagree with Translators being given first billing, they did not author the work but translated. Sir G had an author but it is now Unknown.

The policy as it stands is that translators / editors get second billing.

While it is not explicit for Unknown it is for Anon (from the librarians manual)

sacred texts
Sacred texts with unknown or ambiguous authors are to be listed with the author "Anonymous". Please list any editor(s) or translator(s) in secondary slots. Publishers should not be listed as authors.

As far as I am aware, adding different "people" to the first position prevents the books being grouped together and ratings being incorrect. In addition, where editions are split across different people it is more likely that more editions are added incorrectly.


message 8: by Michael (new)

Michael | 262 comments Paula, that's why I asked the question - I haven't started taking any Unknowns off en masse. I have removed a couple, but I know which those are and I can easily change them back - some of the other editions were added with just the translator, so I will amend those once there is a concensus/guidance.

I agree that putting Unknown first is consistent with the manual entry for Anonymous. Then again, the manual entry for Multiple Authors, says to put editors first, even though they have no authorial role.

I feel that translators/editors should go first, but suspect that I will be guided a differnt way!


message 9: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Editors only go first when there is no single author of the material. In this case, I would think that Unknown, as the single author, would go first -- also, that is the only way to combine editions across translations.


message 10: by Michael (new)

Michael | 262 comments OK, I'll put Unknown as first author and then translator/editor. Thanks.


message 11: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 41701 comments Mod
Cait wrote: "Editors only go first when there is no single author of the material. In this case, I would think that Unknown, as the single author, would go first -- also, that is the only way to combine editio..."

Agreed.


message 12: by Michael (new)

Michael | 262 comments Now, if instead of being a translation, it's a retelling, then should such an edition have the "reteller" listed first? And in that case, would Unknown be listed at all?


message 13: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 41701 comments Mod
Yes, and no.

In that order. ;)


message 14: by Michael (new)

Michael | 262 comments Yay! I have work to do :-)


message 15: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (catherineeilers) | 45 comments I'm not sure I understand how making a division between Unknown and Anonymous helps searchers. Anonymous only means "name unknown," whether that's deliberate on the part of the author or not.


message 16: by Michael (last edited Sep 14, 2010 11:46AM) (new)

Michael | 262 comments i think it's a question of correct nomenclature and categorisation, which is what I guess most librarians do this for :-)

Anonymous means that the book was written by an author who deliberately withheld their identity, while Unknown means that an author was (or probably was) known to their contemporaries, but that knowledge has been lost.


message 17: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (catherineeilers) | 45 comments Michael wrote: "i think it's a question of correct nomenclature and categorisation, which is what I guess most librarians do this for :-)

Certainly that's what I do it for, which is why I bring it up. :)

I understand the distinction you're making, but outside of this specific website either (author) unknown or anonymous covers both those definitions. You're really only saying that anonymous="anonymous to the public and has been since publication" and unknown="anonymous to the public as far back as we know, and maybe or maybe not anonymous before that."

So, what I'm questioning is whether general users--non-librarians who haven't read the librarian manual--are going to understand the distinction. Perhaps they would be better served by having everything together, rather than having to know that they should guess whether or not the author has always been anonymous/unknown.


message 18: by Michael (new)

Michael | 262 comments Well, I'm not sure that anybody would be searching for either Unknown or Anonymous - I certainly wouldn't. If I was looking for a volume of, say, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, that's what I'd search for. That, or possibly the translator.

So, combining Unknown and Anonymous is unlikely to assist the general user, but might be the flashpoint for The Pedantic Librarian Riots ;-)


message 19: by Sandra (last edited Sep 14, 2010 06:13PM) (new)

Sandra | 22755 comments LOL Michael. I'll remember to step away if I hear the riots start.


message 20: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 41701 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "So, combining Unknown and Anonymous is unlikely to assist the general user, but might be the flashpoint for The Pedantic Librarian Riots ;-)"

There definitely would be no book-throwing or -burning, and probably therefore no torches or pitchforks.

Some riot. ;)


message 21: by Michael (new)

Michael | 262 comments But there would be a lot of sharp tutting and shushing - scary!


message 22: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 41701 comments Mod
You were bitten by a rabid librarian as a child, hmm?


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