Words at beginning of sentences with first letter displayed within brackets?

I’ve been reading The Deer Slayer, and I can’t help but notice that some words at the beginning of sentences display their first letter within square brackets. Here are some examples:

[W]hen five or six had discharged their bullets into the trees, he could not refrain from expressing his contempt at their want of hand and eye.

[T]hen he turned and showed the astonished Hurons the noble brow, fine person, and eagle eye of a young warrior, in the paint and panoply of a Delaware.

[T]hat pale-face is my friend. My heart was heavy when I missed him . . .

(The brackets and their contents are included in the book).

I considered that maybe this was the use of dialect, but it doesn’t seem likely or sound natural. What is the reason for this?

Answer

OP is certainly reading an abridged edition of The Deerslayer. A few moments searching on Amazon and Google Books turned up numerous abridged editions. One, at least, was abridged to make it suitable for younger readers. The editors of the OP’s edition were conscientious about showing what they changed; they bracketed letters which are capitalized in the abridgement but not in the original. This is a common way to indicate that capitalization was changed, for example when a word did not start a sentence in the original text but was changed to do so in the text before the reader.

This practice is mentioned in an answer to a different question. That answer quotes Chicago Manual of Style as recommending:

[T]he first word in a quoted passage must often be adjusted to conform to the surrounding text. In most types of works, this adjustment may be done silently… In some types of works, however, it may be obligatory to indicate the change by bracketing the initial quoted letter …

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : Daniel says Reinstate Monica , Answer Author : Community

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