Copyediting Shakespeare

For an anthology I’ve been working on the publisher chose to copyedit some classic texts. It made me wonder how they would handle Shakespeare.

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  1. you have too much fun in your spare time. i loved it.

  2. you should get a day job.

  3. flygirl

    I always wondered how you could take arms against a sea!

  4. Great piece on the soliloquy. Good thing editors know that the golden ages of literature are over, so they can be confident they won’t screw up any classics on a day to day basis. Maybe that’s a good subject for one of your dialogs. Can great literature still be written? Or is the golden age when a living person might create a classic gone forever? In the apprenticeship of any writer there is always a moment when they wonder if all the great books have already been written. Is that true? Is the best we can hope for the opportunity to write a b – (b minus) classic? If so, how does that conceptual ceiling of what is possible impact the idea of writing? The idea of editiing?

  5. I think it’s still very possible to create a classic. At the same time, historically we see that classics are created as much by cultures as by individual writers. In other words, at certain moments the historical conditions exist for great writing, and at the best of these moments even second-tier writers can create works that continue to hold interest. At other times, however, because of the cultural climate in which they are working, even the best writers can only manage relatively minor achievements. So I think writers need to lighten up and go with the flow, realizing that some of this is out of their control. Somebody else can later decide what deserves to be called a classic.

  6. Yes, undoubtedly. Thank god for the Harriet Weavers of the world, eh? Incidentally, I performed a similar operation on the soliloquy, albeit much abbreviated, here:

  7. Conrad, sorry for the delay in posting your comment — for some reason my software moved it to the spam folder.

    Being or nothingness, there’s the rub …

  8. Sir, you are seriously brilliant. You made my day 😀

  9. Vonda

    I am so happy I StumbledUpon your site. With all of the stupid junior-high humor online, it’s wonderful to read smart and clever humor. Thanks for making me Laugh Out Loud several times!