Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Textual Editing’s Weird Knowledge

Have I made it clear enough that this stage of editing is a bit of a slog for me? Still, going through Mrs. Dalloway for the 20th or 21st time still has its pleasures. I am still convinced the novel is a masterpiece even as I guard against the sense one gets, when working hard, that anything one has spent a long time on must be worth something.

It’s strangely fun, for example, as I work on this little appendix of corrections to the proofs (and appendix that may or may not end up in the book), to see the following note:
118.8 air-cushion-- UP ] ~; AP
and know, just from that, the exact paragraph in the novel that this comes from, and then to think, while carrying on with the mundane task of reformatting my list of corrections, about Peter’s thoughts on Clarissa, on her little attentions to her friends—getting someone an air-cushion or a book or some flowers—and how this womanly care is both lovely and a little irritating.

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