[ilds] Editing

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Mon Feb 2 11:27:25 PST 2015


James,

A brief comment on the sorry state of book editing, which has some relevance to Durrell himself, who notoriously hated to proof his own work.  (It might be interesting to explore why he felt that way.)  I know for a fact that some publishers (apparently Edwin Mellen Press is one of them) have essentially done away with an editorial staff and simply “process manuscript” with little or no attention to the product.  Diboll’s book looks like a prime example of this trend.  Why?  It saves money by cutting staff.  Here’s one egregious example of such folly.  The well-known French Egyptologist Béatrix Midant-Reynes wrote a respected book on Egyptian prehistory.   Ian Shaw translated it as The Prehistory of Egypt:  From the First Egyptians to the First Pharaohs (1992).  It was published by Blackwell in Oxford, a reputable publisher.  The first sentence of Midant-Reynes’s introduction reads, “In 1922, when Jean-François Champollion announced the decipherment of hieroglyphics with his famous ‘letter to Monsieur Dacier’ . . .”  Only off by a hundred years!  Any respectable editor should have caught the typo, but apparently there aren’t any at Blackwell’s editorial offices.

Bruce
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