"Murray is the best kind of literary biographer" – The Financial Times.
For more information about the books of Nicholas Murray
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Winner of the 2015 Basil Bunting Award for poetry

Monday, 1 September 2008

Does Anyone Edit Books Any More?

Having shelled out £14.99 for a new hardback book - in this case the 'controversial' new polemic Excavating Kafka by James Hawes - one doesn't really expect to come across a sentence like this: “It’s the K.myth, with its mania for a rose-tinted obsession with Kafka’s emotional and family life, that is to blame for this incredible blindness of Kafka scholars." This horrible prose is characteristic of the slapdash style of this book, for which, of course, the author is to blame, but did no one read the text before it slipped out of the publisher's hands? Grr!

6 comments:

William Palmer said...

Grrr - Don't get me started, Nick. No - nobody edits books anymore because nobody can. Just as nobody edits newspapers or public speech. I just wish an interviewer would interrupt a politician and say, 'Look - I know you have difficulty with the truth. Don't bother with that - just try and speak in English, could you?'

William Palmer

AJEYA RAO said...

Hello, Stopped by while browsing on net. I am not sure if you have already listed your books here, but can i know their names?

Nicholas Murray said...

If you go to my website www.nicholasmurray.co.uk you will see a full list of my books

Ms Baroque said...

Actually I think that is a wonderful sentence; it could serve as wellspring for a myriad titles:
The Mania and the Myth
A Rose-Tinted Obsession
Many a (geddit?) Rose-Tinted Myth
Kafka's Emotional (bit elliptical that one)
(& here's a rather ominous one):
The Incredible Blindness of the Kafka Scholars

I've read several things lately, including wonderful, highbrow things, that really looked as if they hadn't been edited. It is a crying shame and lets authors down badly.

Nicholas Murray said...

Well, yes, I'm all in favour of useful recycling rather than sending rubbish to wasteful landfill sites.

Anonymous said...

From the SfEP website:

Why is the SfEP so pessimistic about new freelance proofreaders and copy-editors finding work?

[...] Although more books, journals and websites are being produced all the time, publishers are trying to reduce costs by eliminating or severely curtailing the editorial work done on their texts, often not valuing the skills that were applied in less pressured times. Even if they do appreciate them, an increasing number of publishers are now sending proofreading and copy-editing work to be done abroad to save money.