RE: VOICE OF THE SILENCE---The Theosophy Company edition compared with the ORIGINAL
Sep 18, 1998 01:36 AM
by W. Dallas TenBroeck
Sept 17th 1998
Re: VOICE OF THE SILENCE
Upon receiving your note of the 16th I pulled out my 2nd Edn ( or
printing ?) 1892 done by the TPH in London. My 1st printing
1889 Edn. ?) is with a friend and not handy for the moment. So I
venture to give a tentative answer to the observations made based
on this 2nd printing (1892)..
I looked up in Webster's dictionary the meaning of "Verbatim."
It says : "word for word, in the same words."
I have in the past checked the T. Co. edition with the original
1889 VOICE, of which I have a copy autographed by HPB, (that I
purchased in 1964 from John Watkins in London) and found it to be
indeed "word by word, in the same words."
Dr. Stokes notes on the T. Co. 1928 edition are substantially
correct as those changes were introduced when the VOICE was
reprinted in 1928 by T. Co., and continue to be reproduced in the
same fashion. However those changes do not relate to the words,
but to the use of a different kind of format and punctuation to
indicate footnotes. This was done deliberately, I am told, for
the benefit of students, as they read the text.
On receipt of your note and comments, I then proof read a good
portion of the book, comparing it, today, with the original that
I have at hand, and did so partly consecutively and partly at
random, again comparing that original (Edn. of 1892 ) with the
current Theosophy Company edition reprinted in 1987.
I found no difference in wording in the text or the footnotes of
any significance --other than: in the reset type used by T. Co.;
accented types were not used, and the paragraphs of the GLOSSARY
have been placed as FOOTNOTES at the bottom of the relevant
pages, the sequential numbered "bullets" which indicated those
paragraphs in the GLOSSARY of the "original" had been eliminated
and normal footnote signs had been substituted for them.
The T. Co. edition did not attempt to emulate the original
printing in the sense of putting on each page the identical
worlds or structure of the original.
The main objective of T. Co., as I understand it, was to place a
verbatim, textually correct copy of HPB's original VOICE OF THE
SILENCE in the hands of students and public who desired to see
and read it. And at a most reasonable cost.
If you have indeed found something that is totally incorrect as
to wording, or that alters meaning and ought not to be there,
altering the sense of the original, I would very much like to be
advised of it, so I can go to T. C. and see why such a change was
made. I do not note from your memo that this is the case. Right
The VOICE was reprinted by T. Co. in 1987 ISBN 0-938993-06-4
I can only say that our duty as students is to see that future
students get trustworthy copies of the original texts. I am glad
that other publishers have brought out accurate copies. It is
good to know that those who publish Theosophical texts are
attempting to place accurate copies in student's hands.
On the other hand, you may have a different definition of
"verbatim" than I had, or may have something else in mind. Do
>Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 1998 10:37 AM
>Subject: Theos-World VOICE OF THE SILENCE---The Theosophy Company
VOICE OF THE SILENCE---The Theosophy Company Edition
Thanks to Dallas TenBroeck and Paul Bazzer for replying to my
concerning facsimiles and verbatim reprints of HPB's original
We have not heard from Tony Maddock on this matter.
I assume that Dallas, Paul and Tony would prefer/use/recommend
facsimile and/or verbatim reprints of HPB's original editions of
SD, VOICE and KEY.
Unfortunately, I believe Dallas is mistaken when he writes:
"THEOSOPHY CO. has done a verbatim reprint of the 1889 edition
Voice of the Silence.]"
In 1928, The Theosophy Company of LA issued the following edition
Author: Blavatsky, H. P. (Helena Petrovna), 1831-1891
Title: The voice of the silence. . . / translated and
Published: Los Angeles : Theosophy Co., 1928.
Description: iv, 110 p. : port. ; 15 cm.
And it appears that the Theosophy Company is STILL selling this
I have not bought a copy of the Voice from the Theosophy Company
years. But see the following information from the Barnes And
online bookstore concerning the edition they are currently
the Theosophy Company:
Voice of the Silence
Helena P. Blavatsky (Translator)
Publisher: Theosophy Company
Pub. Date: January 1928
This Theosophy Company edition is neither a facsimile nor a
reproduction of the original 1889 edition of HPB's VOICE. The
pagination is also different from the original 1889 edition.
According to Dr. H.N. Stokes (OE LIBRARY CRITIC, July 1928), he
upon "a most careful comparison, word by word, from beginning to
this 1928 edition with "the original H.P.B. London edition of
"There are 665 points of differences, of one sort of another,
In the preface. . . . . . . . 34
In the text. . . . . . . . .274
In the notes. . . . . . . . .357
These. . . consist of changes in punctuation, italics, quotation
capitals, spelling of Sanskrit words, omission of the important
diacritical marks over the vowels, and others. This averages one
to every three or four lines."
In about 1985, I obtained a copy of the Voice issued by the
Company. I started comparing the original 1889 edition with this
copy. I did not keep count of the changes made but I found
scores of changes in the TC edition when compared with the
Also this TC edition I examined had changed the pagination of the
original. Furthermore HPB's endnotes had been inserted in the
of the text as footnotes.
Nowhere in the TC edition that I examined did it state that it
verbatim reproduction of the original or that it was a facsimile
of the original 1889 edition. Yet most ULT associates I have
this with have all *assumed* that it was an accurate reproduction
original 1889 work. This assumption is probably made because
publisher offers facsmile editions of the SD, ISIS and the KEY.
unstated reasoning of these students is probably that since TC
these reliable facsimiles, then the Voice must be ALSO a reliable
reproduction of the original.
In summary, based on the criteria previously agreed upon by
and Tony, this Theosophy Company edition does NOT meet those
If G.R.S. Mead, Annie Besant and Boris de Zirkoff are to be
for making numerous changes in various Blavatsky writings, then
criticisms should be leveled at the officials at The Theosophy
(and U.L.T.?) for the 665 changes in their edition of the VOICE?
An accurate verbatim reproduction of the Voice is available from
Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, CA. There are three
editions of the Voice in print which are superior (IMO) to the
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