Lacuna (manuscripts)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A lacuna is a gap in a manuscript, inscription, text, painting, or a musical work. A manuscript, text, or section suffering from gaps is said to be lacunose (or lacunulose).

Weathering, decay, and other damage to old manuscripts or inscriptions are often responsible for lacunae—words, sentences, or whole passages that are missing or illegible. Palimpsests are particularly vulnerable. To reconstruct the original text, the context must be considered. In papyrology and textual criticism this may lead to competing reconstructions and interpretations. Published texts that contain lacunae often mark the section where text is missing with a bracketed ellipsis. For example, "This sentence contains 20 words, and […] nouns," or, "Finally, the army arrived at […] and made camp."

Famous examples

hyrde ich thæt [... ...On]elan cwen. (Fitt 1, line 62)
This particular lacuna is always reproduced in editions of the text, but many people have attempted to fill it, notably editors Wyatt-Chambers and Dobbie, among others, who accept the verb "waes" (was). Malone (1929) proposed the name Yrse for the unnamed queen, as that would alliterate with Onela. This is still hotly debated amongst editors, though.
  • In Codex Leicester the text skips from Acts 10:45 to 14:17 without a break; possibly a scribe rewrote it from a defective manuscript.

Media

The company that carries out a memory-erasing procedure in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is called Lacuna, Inc., relating to the word's meaning.


See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Lacuna (manuscripts)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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