I just reread The Rebel Angels, by Robertson Davies, and was struck by the following sentence:
"Where, I wondered, had Arthur picked up such a friend, who was as near as our modern age allows to what used to be called a matinee idol."
(For anyone who wants to examine the original, this is the last sentence of the first paragraph of the second section of the last chapter.)
This awoke a long slumbering puzzle for me: are there circumstances where a long, complex question like this one can properly be ended with a period? I have seen that usage on many occasions, but I don't see how it can be correct. On the other hand, ending such a sentence with a question mark seems awkward.
I applied the rule of thumb for sorting out I/me and he/him: reduce the sentence to its essentials and see whether it looks right. Here the essential sentence appears to be "Where had Arthur picked up such a friend?" In that form it must surely end with a question mark.

I could change the question to a statement by replacing "Where, I wondered" with "I wondered where," but I don't see how that construction could be found in the original.
In this case the author was not only an accomplished author, but also a journalist, professor, Shakespearean actor, and all-around man of letters, with a degree in literature from Oxford. I don't see how he could make a mistake like this, if it is a mistake; nor do I see how it could be otherwise.
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I just reread The Rebel Angels, by Robertson Davies, and was struck by the following sentence: "Where, I wondered, had ... could make a mistake like this, if it is a mistake; nor do I see how it could be otherwise.

Perhaps it's an unintentional mistake, and nothing more.

Mal
In this case the author was not only an accomplished author, but also a journalist, professor, Shakespearean actor, and all-around man of letters, with a degree in literature from Oxford.

And therefore able to do just what he likes and call it a literary device!
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I just reread The Rebel Angels, by Robertson Davies, and was struck by the following sentence: "Where, I wondered, had ... could make a mistake like this, if it is a mistake; nor do I see how it could be otherwise.

I do that all the time; hitting the full-point key is second nature, at the end of a sentence that's why you have proofreaders. Maybe the proofreaders in question should have worked a little harder.
I just reread The Rebel Angels, by Robertson Davies, and ... mistake; nor do I see how it could be otherwise.

I do that all the time; hitting the full-point key is second nature, at the end of a sentence that's why you have proofreaders. Maybe the proofreaders in question should have worked a little harder.

The emphasis should be on the second clause, not the first. With no inflection, the interrogative form is embedded in the imperative statement, so there is no mistake.
Joanne
I do that all the time; hitting the full-point key ... the proofreaders in question should have worked a little harder.

The emphasis should be on the second clause, not the first. With no inflection, the interrogative form is embedded in the imperative statement, so there is no mistake.

Dear God in Heaven.
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I just reread The Rebel Angels, by Robertson Davies, and was struck by the following sentence: "Where, I wondered, had Arthur picked up such a friend, who was as near as our modern age allows to what used to be called a matinee idol."

This doesn't seem to be a question to me. It seems to be roughly equivalent, in terms of meaning, to: "I wondered where Arthur had picked up such a friend, who was as near as our modern age allows to what used to be called a matinee idol".
In which case, there is no mistake.

Clark S. Cox III
I just reread The Rebel Angels, by Robertson Davies, and was struck by the following sentence: "Where, I wondered, had ... "Where, I wondered" with "I wondered where," but I don't see how that construction could be found in the original.

Why not? Take, eg, "I ask you how that construction can be found." With a poetic inversion, that can become "How, I ask you, can that construction be found?"
And it clearly requires the question mark in the second version and doesn't require it in the first, showing that a reordered sentence may require different punctuation.
Whereas with "wonder" it is not at all unusual to find unnecessary question marks. I recollect some discussion here in the past about the fact that people frequently write. "I wonder why?" when "I wonder why." is what is intended.
So I think the answer to your question is that your rephrasing as "I wondered where ..." is acceptable and doesn't require the question mark. That doesn't, however, prove the case one way or the other for the original. I'd say the original does require the question mark and this is an error. Like when Davies said orangutans had tails.
In this case the author was not only an accomplished author, but also a journalist, professor, Shakespearean actor, and all-around ... could make a mistake like this, if it is a mistake; nor do I see how it could be otherwise.

Don't be seduced by the idea that you can get a degree from Oxford only by being perfect and always correct. If that were the case there'd be nothing but Firsts.
Not to say that the mistake, if mistake it be, was his. Printers and proof-readers don't always get it right either.

John Dean
Oxford
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