Friday, May 05, 2006

Friday Random 10: Editions Edition

I know you have been wanting to ask: O Mighty Isis, what are some of the most rewarding aspects of textual editing? Well, it's your lucky day!

First, there are the stylistic conventions that a series might silently adopt. That might mean, for instance, that although you have never written anything that adopts British standards of spelling and punctuation, you must use them. Never mind that the conventions of quoting seem counterintuitive, if only because you are not sued to them. Also note that titles of books, operas, periodicals, long poems, statues, plays, paintings, and drawings are in italics, while titles of stories, poems, and songs are in quotation marks. For you, that means identifying the nature of the work for each title that appears in the text. Should a philosophical treatise go in quotes or italics? How about a fictional book?

Then you get to decide which of your author's innumerable errors (well, maybe the author's, maybe the publisher's) to emend, and which to leave, in order to retain the sense of the crazy book that was privately published, only to be fixed up in its later edition. Sometimes special terms are capitalised. Sometimes they are italicised. Sometimes they are italicised and capitalised. Sometimes they are randomly abbreviated. And which of the author's favourite specialised vocabulary should you also capitalise in your own annotations, when you know full well that this guy capitalised all over the place? You May Find Yourself Deciding That It Is Easiest To Capitalise Everything. And Also To Italicise Everything.

How about page references in annotations? For which should you use roman numerals and for which arabic? How do you distinguish a reference to volume + page number from one to book + chapter + verse? Act + scene + line? And what about classical texts that are routinely cited by paragraph numbers?

Drinking, people. That is the only cure.

This is definitely the kind of rewarding work that led me to choose this profession. And it's why I get the big bucks. Or excuse me, British Style, I should say the supreme quid.

Please note that this week's random 10 is presented in British style (insofaras I am capable), and that all ampersands have been expanded to 'and':

1. 'Exactly Like You', k. d. lang and Tony Bennett (A Wonderful World)
2. Vivaldi: 'Magnificat, et miericordia', John Alldi Choir and the English Chamber Orchestra, cond. Vittorio Negri (The Great Choral Masterpieces, disc 1)
3. Bach: 'O Sacred Head', Richard Stoltzman (Spirits)
4. 'Sad, Lonesome and Blue', Queen Ida and her Zydeco Band (Caught in the Act)
5. 'Dead Letter', Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet (The Juliet Letters)
6. 'Free Your Mind', En Vogue (Funky Divas)
7. 'Airport', dZihan and Kamien (Gran Riserva)
8. 'Smoke Rings', k. d. lang (Drag)
9. 'Maria Moita', Rosalia de Souza (Garota Moderna)
10. 'The Hero's Return', Pink Floyd (The Final Cut)

1 comment:

Joe said...

Yikes! No offense but I do NOT want your job, Fury, err, Isis. :-)