Last month I did a post in which I misquoted a New Yorker article entitled Big Bird by Thomas Mallon. The article was a review of Charles J. Shields' Mockingbird, A Portrait of Harper Lee.
My post was about classifying books--should particular titles be classified as adult or YA and who gets to decide? I quoted Harper Lee, herself, as saying of her book, To Kill A Mockingbird, "It’s interesting that all the folks that are buying it don’t know they’re reading a child’s book."
Well, Harper Lee never said that. Flannery O'Connor did. Mallon attributed the quote correctly in his article. I just totally blew it.
I've always been afraid to write historical nonfiction because I've always been sure I would make exactly this kind of error. Wait. No. I was worried about not attributing other researchers' material correctly. Which is then usually referred to as plagiarism. So now I have an entirely different kind of mistake to worry about.
Many thanks to Charles J. Shields for bringing the misquote to my attention in a very gracious e-mail.
I'll be making a note in the original post pointing out the error.
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