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The term "editor" covers a number of functions ranging from one who ma

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The term "editor" covers a number of functions ranging from one who makes acceptance decisions or is responsible for commissioning and organizing a publishing program; to someone internal who deals with the production process (production editor) or is responsible for copy-editing typescript and/or electronic manuscripts. Most copy-editors of literature consider it their main duty to present the text as the writer intended. As Thomas McCormack says, ―the primary rule of editing is, first do no harm.‖ This sounds simple, but aside from the question of whether the author‘s intentions can ever be known, it is not necessarily clear what is actually intended. The actual cases are so diverse that any singular maxim probably does more harm than good.

Circumstances abound in which pressure has been applied to authors by their editors to alter their work. The publisher of the first edition of The Red Badge of Courage moderated Stephen Crane‘s uncompromising depiction of the horrors of war. The publisher of the first edition of Women in Love toned down much of the explicit nature of D.H. Lawrence‘s sexual passages. In both cases, the changes were ―authorized‖ insofar as the authors accepted them. But then, on the other hand, what other option did they face except not seeing their work published at all. Can this situation be construed as the authors‘ ―free‖ acceptance of the editorial alterations, and do the author‘s intentions
endure?

More recently, there has arisen a trend in editing that is well illustrated by the declaration adopted in 1992 by the Board of Directors of the Association of American University Presses: ―Books…should also be at the forefront in recognizing how language encodes prejudice. They should also be agents for change and the redress of past mistakes.‖ This
―politically correct‖ movement seeks to eliminate un-intended perpetuation of prejudices in literature, but with obvious, inherent
dangers and difficulties.

Not all difficult problems for editors are caused by moral, political, ethical or even marketing issues. Punctuation, mainly thought of as part of an author‘s individual style, is not usually considered controversial. In spite—and partly because—of this, punctuation is what publisherstraditionally feel most free to alter as mere, neutral ―correction‖ (a gross example is the unskilled and unnecessary editing of Emily Dickinson‘s eccentric, but eloquent, punctuation in early editions of her works).

First editions in particular tend to present the publisher‘s ―house style‖rather than the author‘s own punctuation. The obvious course for an editor might be to return to the author‘s manuscript wherever possible. But publishing-house re-punctuation is so routine that many authors have actually counted on it for the correct punctuation of their work; in such cases, the manuscript would contain punctuation (or a lack thereof) that the author never expected to see reproduced in print. Jane Eyre provides an interesting quandary for an editor. We have Charlotte Brontë‘s original manuscript. We also have a letter from Brontë to her publisher, thanking him for correcting her punctuation. Which punctuation is more authentically ―Brontëan‖: Brontë‘s own, or that which Brontë explicitly preferred to her own?

The thorniest situation of all, perhaps, involves authorial revisions made long after publication. W.H. Auden, in subsequent editions of his work, altered his own earlier poems to accord with his later political and religious opinions. One fancies that the young Auden would have been furious at the old Auden‘s liberties. Yet both are Auden—which has the greater authority?
1. Which of the following can be inferred about the text of Jane Eyre from the
passage?
A. Following the punctuation of the manuscript would make the book
more difficult to read.
B. The punctuation of the first edition misrepresents the intentions of
the author.
C. Bronte made a mistake by allowing her publisher to correct her
punctuation.
D. Bronte requested that the publisher make corrections to her
punctuation.
E. Bronte was not very good with punctuation

2. Based on information in the passage, which of the following new discoveries
would potentially be a legitimate basis for a new edition of a literary work?
I. An author‘s original manuscript
II. A first edition incorporating the publisher‘s revisions
III. A second edition thoroughly emended by the author
A. I only
B. III only
C. I and II only
D. I and III only
E. I, II and III

3. Based on the information given in the passage, which of the following
situations would the author probably consider the most difficult decision for
an editor?
A. Pope rewrote The Dunciad, directing the satire against a completely
different person.
B. Dickens changed the ending of Great Expectations at a friend‘s
suggestion before its publication in book form.
C. Whitman printed Leaves of Grass himself and continued to produce
new, expanded editions for almost 40 years.
D. James Joyce‘s poor eyesight made it difficult for him to proofread his
manuscripts.
E. Shakespeare‘s works that had been edited by Thomas Bowdler to make it more acceptable to families


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New post 20 Oct 2018, 22:34

Topic and Scope - The author discusses literary editors, their function, and
challenges they face.


Mapping the Passage


¶1 discusses the general role of editors.
¶2 discusses a central tenet, and the difficulties editors encounter in following it.
¶3 gives examples of editing that has taken the form of censorship possibly harmful to
the author‘s intent.
¶4 argues that the new trend of editing in a politically correct fashion is difficult and
dangerous.
¶5 says that punctuation is the most common type of edit, and discusses the
difficulties associated with this.
¶6 states that the most difficult editing situation is when authors have edited
themselves after long periods of time.
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The term "editor" covers a number of functions ranging from one who ma  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Oct 2018, 22:35

Answers and Explanations


1)

Why does the author mention Jane Eyre? It‘s an example of a book where editing
was useful because the author preferred the editor‘s punctuation to her own. If this
is true, (A) makes sense. Inferior original punctuation would make the original
manuscript more difficult to read.
(A): The correct answer
(B): Opposite. The author argues that Bronte preferred the corrected punctuation,
and so it‘s safe to assume that it more closely reflects her intentions.
(C): Out of Scope. The author doesn‘t suggest anywhere that Bronte was unwise to
allow corrections.
(D): Distortion. Though Bronte approved of the changes to the punctuation, the
passage doesn‘t suggest that she actively requested that the changes be
made.
(E): Out of scope

2)

When would a new edition be justified? Presumably when the new edition was
closer to the original intent of the author than the previous editions. Look at each
Roman Numeral with your prediction in mind. Start with RN I, which appears in
three choices. Since the author believes that the editor should present what the
author intended, an original manuscript would be reasonable cause for a new
edition. For the same reason, the author probably wouldn‘t agree that RN II would
present justification since the publisher might be straying from the original intent,
as is the case in the examples in ¶3. RN III is similar to what Auden does as
described in the last paragraph. Since the author‘s intent has changed, it‘sreasonable to assume that a new edition is justified. (D) catches both of the correct
points.
(A): Opposite. As above.
(B): Opposite. As above.
(C): Opposite. As above.
(D): The correct answer
(E): Opposite. As above.

3)

Predict what the author would consider the most difficult editorial situation. It‘s
stated explicitly in the last paragraph: the ―thorniest situation...involves authorial
revisions made long after publication.‖ Looking for an answer choice in which the
author fundamentally changes his own work after publication immediately turns up
A.
(A): The correct answer
(B): Out of Scope. Though Dickens changes his work in this case, it‘s before
publication, and so falls outside the author‘s concern.
(C): Distortion. Though this is an example of an author revising his work, he‘s not
changing the substance, but rather adding to it. The author would presumably
think that this was less of a problem for an editor than if Whitman had
fundamentally changed the text itself.
(D): Out of Scope. This doesn‘t touch at all on an author revising his manuscripts
after publication.
(E): Out of Scope. Same as above.

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