Q. I am an editor of a nineteenth-century writer’s manuscripts. We are trying to determine whether we should regularize certain capitalizations, as they are not consistent even within contemporary editions and impressions; the manuscripts provide hardly any evidence because we cannot tell whether the writer’s letters are capped or lowercased. Problems include North/north, South/south, Union/union, etc. It is our feeling that since we are dealing with no clear pattern, even within an edition, we should probably retain copy-text renderings, and include justification for this choice in our textual introduction. Any insights? Many thanks.
A. The main thing is to clarify your method to readers in a note, whether you opt to regularize or not. I would vote as you have, for the least possible violence to the original, imposing your preferences only when the original is not clear.