(There’s no technical content in this post… but you may get a bit of a giggle from it. When I get the second edition web site notes together I’ll include this as well… but I thought it was fun enough to deserve a blog post too.)
The second edition of C# in Depth is nearing the end of its technical review cycle, as performed by the great Eric Lippert. Yesterday I received the comments for chapter 13, which includes this section heading:
The revenge of optional parameters and named arguments
Now, my copy editor (Ben) wasn’t too keen on this. He suggested an alternative form:
I think "have their revenge" has more of a ring to it than "the revenge of"
Personally I’m quite fond of the original, but Eric suggested another alternative, with customary flair:
I’m not buying it Ben. Your way vs Jon’s way:
"The Clones Attack" / "Attack of the Clones"
"The Sith Have Revenge" / "The Revenge of the Sith"
"The Empire Strikes Back" / "The Counter-attack of the Empire"
"The Jedi Return" / "The Return of the Jedi"
I would argue – I have before and I will again – that the proper title for episode two is not the passive, wimpy "Attack of the Clones" but rather the aggressive, dynamic, active "The Clones Attack", preferably with an exclamation point, "The Clones Attack!"
"The Sith Have Revenge" has that awkward verb form. "The Counter-attack of the Empire" is too wordy. And "The Jedi Return" is just… wrong. So I would score these as the winners being Ben / Jon / Ben / Jon.
I say "the revenge of" is superior to "have their revenge", but that the best would be "Optional and named parameters strike back".
Also, NOOOOOO! You’re not my father!
This intrigued me mightily, so I dashed off an email to Eric:
I’m just going through your notes for chapter 13, and they’ve brought up an issue which I think would bother me if I didn’t consult you about it.
You suggested that the alternative to "Return of the Jedi" (1) would be "The Jedi Return." That implies multiple Jedi returning – does this include Anakin returning from the Dark Side? Leia’s nascent ability being revealed? I had always imagine it to only refer to Luke’s return, suggesting "The Jedi Returns" as the parallel title. This could change everything.
(1) There’s no leading "The" in the English title, as far as I can tell – although in French it’s "Le retour du Jedi." Does this alter your argument at all?
Eric’s reply was as prompt as ever:
First off, you’re right, there’s no leading “The”. I had not realized that.
I had always assumed that the “Jedi” of the title “Return of the Jedi” referred to the beginning of the restoration of the Jedi as an institution. With the downfall of the Emperor and Lord Vader, the Jedi are back. Even though technically there’s only one of them alive in the club right now, there will be more.
However, I must admit that in light of episodes one through three, it now seems plausible that in fact the Jedi referred to in the title is neither the Jedi as a class nor Luke as an individual, but rather the redemption of Anakin.
Beyond the dialogue…
So, that’s the end of that, right? We can’t really tell what Lucas was thinking… except that when I relayed all of this at the office over breakfast, someone suggested that we have a look at some other translations – and that we pay more attention to the French than just the inclusion of "Le" to start with.
The fact that the French version uses "du" suggests it’s the return of a singular Jedi rather than many individual Jedi knights… but apparently the singular form can also be used for a collective institution, in line with Eric’s "Jedi as a class" theory.
The German version is
still ambiguous, as far as I can tell interesting: "Die Rückkehr der Jedi-Ritter" – a colleague suggested that this implies knights plural, but "the return of the knight" and "the return of the knights" translate the same way in Google Translate. The fact that "ritter" is both plural and singular (like sheep in English) looks like it foils us. EDIT: As noted in comments, the genetive form would be "des" for a singular knight. So it really is "knights". I was misled by automated translation – I should have trusted my colleague :) But does this mean "the return of several individual Jedi knights" or "the return of an institution of Jedi knights"? Without knowing the subtleties of the German language, I certainly can’t tell for sure.
There’s a whole host of titles of course – if any reader gifted in languages wishes to analyse some more of them, I’d be very grateful. One thing I will point out is the alternative US working title: "Revenge of the Jedi." Who really had their revenge in episode VI? Arguably Luke avenged Han by killing Jabba… and perhaps Anakin himself took revenge on the Emperor? Given that Obi Wan effectively started Luke on the crusade against Vader, perhaps it’s his revenge from beyond the grave?
These are serious matters which I lament I am unable to explore adequately in this post – but comments are more welcome than ever.
So what happened to the heading in the end? Well, for the moment I’ve left it as it is. It may yet change before printing though – we’ll see. Possibly I should take this opportunity to make Eric’s dream change apply in a different context… how about "Attack of the optional parameters and named arguments!" Perhaps not.
Anyway, I’m sure you will all be glad to see that such weighty technical matters are being given the thorough attention they deserve. Yes, the book really will come out sometime reasonably soon.