Several people have brought it to my attention that I do not always quote my sources exactly. It seems that they have compared what I have quoted with the original texts and have found there to be some odd discrepancies, and they thought that they would do me the service of bringing these issues to my attention so that I could correct them.
So, let me say, once and for all, that I have indeed misquoted, often, purposefully, systematically. I have changed tenses and pronouns. I have replaced contractions with full words. I have omitted the contents of parentheses and subclauses. I have alterred endless amounts of punctuation. I have, in all these ways and probably many others, misquoted.
Do not, however, mistake this confession for contrition. I do not intend to start subjecting myself slavishly to the letter of the texts that I quote. Though I am deeply respectful of authors and their words, I would suggest that a true respect for words involves the understanding that they are not absolute, not sacred, not originary, but malleable, multiple, and sometimes best respected when they are incorporated into the idiom of another author who loves them enough to work and to play with them. To insist on the letter of the text, even when it does not do justice to the living text, can only ever be a mere legalism. I am not concerned with it. My concern is elsewhere.