Editing Shakespeare

Thomas Christensen at Right Reading wondered what it would look like if Shakespeare were subjected to modern editing. Here is a little of what he came up with:

To be, or not to be: {COMMENT: Weak, confusing opening. Is something missing here? The thought seems unfinished.} that is the question: {COMMENT: Indirect. Why not get right to your main point?} Should I exist?
Is itWhether ’tis nobler in the mind{COMMENT: Where else would it be noble?} to suffer endure
The slings pellets and arrows {COMMENT: Not parallel. A sling is a throwing device whereas an arrow is something thrown}of outrageous {Right word? Did you mean “raging”? or just “bad”?}fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea troop of troubles {This metaphor is just silly. How can one “take arms” against a “sea”??},
And by opposing end them defeat them?

Read the rest here. I’ve had my own brushes with hack editors, so this is painfully funny. Long live silly metaphors.

via the freedom- and democracy-loving Moyen Âge.


4 comments on “Editing Shakespeare

  1. Andrew says:

    Haha, what a find.
    I loved the note at the bottom.

  2. Sylvia says:

    Me too. It's so obliviously perky.

  3. Todd says:

    That's lovely. I remember a favorite quip as a journalist: The editor's job is to make great writing mediocre.

  4. Kim says:

    LOL! Perfect timing–I will be introducing Hamlet to my Advanced Placement students on Monday. Thanks for the link.

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