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ArribaAbajo Occurrences of Verbal Forms Ending in s with a Dependent Third Person Object Pronoun in the First Editions of Parts I and II of Don Quixote

Robert M. Flores

The University of British Columbia

Uno de los muchos elementos de carácter meramente tipográfico de los que se puede uno valer para delimitar las tareas de los cajistas que compusieron las primeras ediciones del Quijote (Madrid, Juan de la Cuesta, 1605 y 1615), es la incidencia de las variantes «imagen» y «sl» en formas verbales terminadas en «s» con complemento enclítico directo o indirecto de tercera persona. Cada cajista tendía a usar ya fuera una o la otra variante, y esta costumbre no solamente apunta al cajista que compuso la lectura, sino que también ayuda a seleccionar la forma más adecuada de reunir en una línea toda lectura de este tipo que aparece dividida en dos líneas en las primeras ediciones del Quijote; por ejemplo, mandarnos | lo > mandarnoimagenlo > contaros | lo > contaroslo; vereiimagen | lo > vereislo.

Virtually every line of the first editions of Parts I and II of Don Quixote (Juan de la Cuesta, Madrid, 1605 and 1615) invites close scrutiny and careful consideration from a specialist preparing an old-spelling edition of this work of Cervantes's. Seemingly unimportant readings cannot be glossed over. Generalizations unsupported by textual evidence are not infrequently incorrect. For example, the compositors of the first editions of Don Quixote set a hyphen at the end of a line to denote that a word had been split and set in two lines only when space allowed it; hence, one could assume that the first-edition readings «mandarnos | lo» (I, 01v, 12-13) and «vereiimagen- | lo» (II, L8r, 6-7) should be edited to read «mandarnoslo» and «vereiimageno.»82 In the following   —56→   pages I shall demostrate that these forms are not necessarily the most appropriate solution; see Table 1, items 10 and 45.83


1.tuuimoimageno (1, ¶3r, 14; C)34.aueroimagena (I, Kklr, 19; E)
2.Quereyimageno (I, ¶¶8v, 23; E)35.daros la (I, L12r, 3; F)
3.moimagentradnosla (I, B6v, 3-4; C)36.dexemoimagene (I, L18r, 4; F)
4.oislo (I, D1v, 2; C)37. tuuimoslo (II, ¶5r, 14; I)
5.Hemosle (I, E8v, 7-8; D)38. dirasle (II, ¶6v, 33; I)
6. agradeceroslo (I, H8v, 24; D)39.oiimageno (II, B5v, 5; H)
7.Puedeslo (I, 14r, 22-23; E)40.aueysla (II, E1r, 23; I)
8. agradeceroslas (I, 17r, 25-26; E)41.encomendemos lo (II, E5v, 11; I)
9.denoslo (I, N8r, 23; E)42.hemosle (II, E6v, 2; I)
10.mandarnos | lo (I, 0lv, 12-13; F)43. eimagencuchemosle (II, F2v, 9; I)
11.veraimageno (I, 05v, 15-16; F)44.direisle(II, H7v, 15; I)
12.Diximoimagene (I, 08r, 21; F)45.vereiimagen- | lo (II, L8r, 6-7; I)
13.Rogamoimagene (I, 08v, 20; F)46.Direiimagene (II, M2v 28; H)
14.Pedimoimagene (I, 08v, 22; F)47.traeros le (II, M7r, 12; H)
15.acabandonoslas (I, Q2r, 18-19; E)48. pagaros lo (II, M7r, 17-18; H)
16. traeroimagena (I, S7r, 17; F)49.Aueisla (II, P8r, 31; I)
17.daroimagena (I, S7r, 22; F)50.veraslos (II, S2r, 15; I)
18.dezirosla (I, VIr, 16; E)51. eimagencriuiimagentes la (II, S5r, 11; I)
19.tienesla (I, Y3v, 30; E)52.Veamosla (II, S5r, 13; I)
20. eimagentamosle (I, Z3r, 2; C)53.cuentenosla (II, T2v, 3; I)
21.podreyimageno (I, Bb6r, 28; E)54.ha os la (II, Y3v, 30; I)
22. pagarnos lo (I, Dd6r, 27; F)55.quitarosle (II, Aa2v, 3; I)
23. Dimoimagene (I, Gg7v, 7; F)56.demosle (II, Aa7r, 18; I)
24. Moimagentramoimagene (I, Gg8r, 29-30; F)57.Dexemos los (II, Cc5r, 31-32; I)
25.dimosle (I, Hhlv, 8; D)58.Deosle (II, Ee2r, 10; J)
26.Diximosle (I, Hh7v, 24; D)59.lleuamoslas (II, Ee3r, 12; J)
27.lleuarnosle (I, Hh8v, 4; D)60.imagenupliquemosle (II, Ee6v, 11-12; J)
28.Boluimosle (I, Ii3r, 28; C)61.acompañamosla (II, Gg2r, 34; J)
29. Prometimosle (I, Iiv, 26-27; C)62. negaroslo (II, Ii3r, 19; J)
30.dimosles (I, Ii6r, 23; C)63. traeimagen- | los (II, Kk3r, 3-4; I)
31.tiramosla (I, Ii6v, 29; C)64. oyslo (II, L14r, 19; J)
32.contaros | lo (I, Ii8r, 16-17; C)65. dexemosle (II L17v, 18; J)
33. diximosle (I, Ii8v, 9; C)66.daremos les (II, Mm4r, 1; I)


Table 1 lists the sixty-six occurrences of compound words made up of a verbal form ending in s and a third person object pronoun that appear in the first editions of Don Quixote. Confronted with the three different fashions in which the occurrences of this grammatical construction were set (one word with imagen, one word with sl, and two or three words), an editor must first decide whether to retain all three forms, only two, or regularize all readings to agree with the form most commonly used by the compositors.

There are only thirty-three readings containing the ligature imagen in Don Quixote, and they appear scattered throughout the work;84 therefore, it is unlikely that the use of types from this sort could be the result of a temporary shortage of type.85 The variant imagen/sl is not a spelling variant, but rather a typographical variant resulting in exactly the same consonant cluster, but set with types from different sorts (imagen, s and l). Hence, this variant must reflect a compositorial setting habit which should not be regularized offhand.

The nine two- and three-word occurrences (items 22, 35, 41, 47, 48, 51, 54, 57, and 66; items 10 and 32 are words split and set in two lines) could be instances of the compositors' common practice of interpolating separation quads to justify their lines of type, in which case the elements of each occurrence should be united. But, because in addition to the nine two- and three-word occurrences entered in Table 1, one finds sixty-four other occurrences of similar readings set in the same fashion, and because we can be absolutely certain that at least eight of these sixty-four readings were set as two- or threeword forms purposely,86 we can safely conclude that setting   —58→   these grammatical constructions in this fashion was an accepted, though perhaps not a common, orthographic convention amongst some compositors. All two- and three-word readings of these grammatical constructions should, therefore, be retained as they occur in the first editions.

With three differing but perfectly valid ways of setting the same word from which to choose, it would be too sanguine to expect one-hundred-per-cent consistency in how each compositor set the occurrences that appear in his gatherings. Table 2 shows that compositors did, none the less, have a strong preference for one or another form.


CompositorOne word
with «imagen»
One word
with «sl»
Two or three
words with
«s l»
set in 2
C18contaros | lo
F92mandarnos | lo
I125vereiimagen- | lo
traeimagen- | los

Some of the seeming inconsistencies found in Table 2, disappear when one takes into account other setting habits of the compositors. When compositor I split a word between an s and the following letter at the end of a line, he always set an imagen instead of the usual s (see, for instance, «deimagen- | hazia,» II, Aa8r, 34-Aa8v, 1; «tranimagen | formaron,» II, F8v, 8). Also, four readings set by compositors E and H with imagen's (items 2,   —59→   21, 39, and 46) contain the cluster iimagen / yimagen, which these compositors customarily set with a ligature (see: «legiimagenador,» I, ¶¶1v, 22; «yimagena,» I, K3r, 15; «Iimagena,» I, Ff7v, 31; «aillados,» II, D4v, 4). Therefore, the two occurrences with imagen's entered in the last column of Table 2 under compositor I, and the four occurrences with the cluster iimagen / yimagen entered under compositors E and H are not inconsistencies. On the contrary, the use of ligatures and imagen's in these six instances merely re-affirms well-established compositorial practices.

It is obvious, from Table 2, that compositors C, D, E, I, and J preferred the one-word form with sl; that compositor H preferred the two- or three-word form, but when a reading had the cluster iimagen he set it with a ligature; and, lastly, that the only workman who preferred the one-word form with the ligature imagen was compositor F.87

Given the distinct preferences of the compositors for one form over another, one probably should, when producing an old-spelling edition of Don Quixote, edit items 10, 32, 45, 63, and four other similarly made-up readings (one of the readings was run together and three appear set in two lines), as follows: «mandarnos | lo» > «mandarnoimageno» (compositor F; FCE, 7247), «Quitamos imagene | le» > «Quitamos imagene le» (compositor F; FCE, 7741), «contaros | lo» > «contaroslo» (compositor C; FCE, 16717), «vereiimagen- | lo» > «vereislo» (compositor I; FCE, 26897), «Prometimosimagenelo» > «Prometimos imagene lo» (compositor E; FCE, 15168), «imageneñalen | imagene le» > «imageneñalen imagene le» (compositor I; FCE, 27921), «traeimagen- | los» > «traeslos» (compositor I; FCE, 38350), and «boluio | imagene la» > «boluio imagene la» (compositor I; FCE, 38596).

It may seem unnecessary to spend so much time and effort deciding whether to enter the first edition reading «mandarnos | lo» as «mandarnoimageno,» «mandarnoslo,» or «mandarnos lo,» but what is   —60→   really in question here is, of course, not what the most appropriate form of one isolated reading is. The stakes are much higher.

The printer's copies from which the first editions of Don Quixote were set, Cervantes's own manuscripts, are no longer extant. The characteristics of the authorial orthography and style are unknown, and lie hidden underneath the particularities of the differing spelling preferences and setting habits of several compositors. In other words, because we can reach at Cervantes only through the compositors, no bibliographical, typographical, or textual peculiarity of the first editions can be glossed over or dismissed without careful consideration. No error, variant, or puzzling reading is unimportant. Before attempting to establish Cervantes's intended text, one must familiarize onself with the spelling preferences and setting habits of the compositors, and produce an edition which is consistent with these characteristics.

The deductive process I have followed for deciding how to edit the reading «mandarnos | lo» may, perhaps, be of some interest, but what one learns about the setting habits of the compositors, and the realization that only one compositor had a marked preference for using the ligature imagen rather than two separate types, take us beyond Don Quixote and Cervantes.

The Madrigal-Cuesta press was an active and important printing house during the first quarter of the seventeenth century. Compositor F's setting idiosyncracy, like compositor E's acceptance of the authorial spelling «vuo» (The Compositors) or compositor H's characteristic spelling of the word «» («More on the Compositors»), could be used as the means to unravel the distribution of labour in many another work printed at the Madrigal-Cuesta press in those auspicious years. Only when seen under this light can one do full justice to the relevance of otherwise apparently unimportant loose pieces of biblio-analytical evidence.

The importance of having complete, accurate, and accessible records of all occurrences of all words found in Don Quixote cannot be overstated. This study, like every one of my previous monographs on the first editions of Cervantes's works, would not have been possible without my having these records at hand.