Constantin, oh Constantin – how do I wrong you? Let me count the ways..
As noted below, I was once guilty of mistakenly reporting the death of Constantin Doyez – not once, not twice, but (so I am informed) thrice. For this I have apologised oh-so-many times – and I am at this stage firmly confident that I shall enter my own muddy grave without experiencing undue remorse for this particular sin of mine.
But alas, life is a poorly-ploughed field – and I have never been blessed with whatever footwear is best suited to that especial terrain. However much care I take I can’t seem to stop myself tripping up. There I was, thinking that aggravating Professor C Doyez was a thing of the past; that my catalogue of errors was covered by the dust of ages; that I was, at last, off the proverbial hook.
But no: it seems not. Late last night I was on the receiving end of another message from the aforementioned scholar, once again correcting a fact that I have had the audacity to put into the public domain. Of couse, I am inclined to feel that my latest crime pales in significance when placed beside its predecessor – but perhaps I am wrong. Maybe it was unforgiveable of me to say that Doyez was a ‘Viennese scholar of Spanish literature’ when he is, in reality, a ‘Spanish scholar of Viennese literature’. Call the man a pedant, but I sense that we should respect his right to be shirty. One must not treat facts lightly. They are not bubbles. They are not feathers, floating in the wind. A fact is not a falafel.
In which spirit, I trust that all my readers will take full note of this correction – making sure that they never, in any circumstances, commit so grave an error themselves. Falsely reporting a scholar’s death is one thing, but getting his field of expertise wrong is quite another.