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gothicangel
10-23-2010, 12:40 PM
50,000 words in and it cheered me up. :D

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1323056/How-Jane-Austen-failed-spelling-Study-shows-author-used-regional-accent-poor-punctuation.html

heyjude
10-23-2010, 03:12 PM
Great article, gothic!

Phaeal
10-23-2010, 05:03 PM
From the linked article, re Jane Austen:


The reputation of no other English novelist rests so firmly on the issue of style, on the poise and emphasis of sentence and phrase, captured in precisely weighed punctuation. But in reading the manuscripts it quickly becomes clear that this delicate precision is missing.

I don't think Austen's several centuries of fans were reading her primarily for her punctuation and diction. Oh, the academia.

gothicangel
10-23-2010, 05:47 PM
I don't think Austen's several centuries of fans were reading her primarily for her punctuation and diction. Oh, the academia.

I would argue that it's academics like her that give the rest of us a bad name. ;)

Jamesaritchie
10-23-2010, 06:09 PM
And what does Kathryn Sutherland's reputation rest on? Screw her. Austen's reputation rest on the fact that she told great stories, and filled them with wonderful characters.

Some academics have their heads up in the clouds. Others have theirs stuck somewhere else.

gothicangel
10-23-2010, 09:00 PM
And what does Kathryn Sutherland's reputation rest on? Screw her. Austen's reputation rest on the fact that she told great stories, and filled them with wonderful characters.


I've managed to get through my BA without coming across her, so that probably answers that question. :D

Kate Thornton
10-23-2010, 09:29 PM
A great story is the best thing you can do for your fiction.

But if your punctuation and grammar take me out of your great story, then you've shot yourself in the foot. Do your homework, do your writing, do your editing. Yeah, it's work - but it can make all the difference. I'm not talking about regional dialect or the way your *character* talks. I'm talking about the way you as a writer speak to your readers.

I love Jane Austen's work - but if I'm gonna love yours or mine, we need to do our editing. Spelling & punctuation *do* count.

When I got the proof copy for my book, there were at least 24 major booboos. Big ones. I say at least, because those are the ones I found. I hope there aren't any more because it's in print now. If it had gone out like that, I'd be mortified and readers would be puzzled and irritated.

I read the article through a couple of times - I'll cut Jane Austen a lot of slack because her stories and characters are that good. But it's a mistake to think anyone will cut *us* that kind of slack.

gothicangel
10-23-2010, 11:03 PM
Publishing in Austen's day was very different to what it is now. It was the days before publishing became a commodity and publishers realised they could make money out of this thing.

Austen, like other writers of her time entered a 'co-operative publishing deal' in which she split the cost of production.

I think it's strange to compare the publishing world of the early 19th century to that of the 21st.

Kate Thornton
10-24-2010, 01:17 AM
Yes, of course you are right - it doesn't really makes sense to compare the two - but it does make sense to proof your work carefully and yes - get back to the miserable job of editing! (which we all hate but which makes us better at what we do.)

gothicangel
10-24-2010, 01:53 AM
Yes, of course you are right - it doesn't really makes sense to compare the two - but it does make sense to proof your work carefully and yes - get back to the miserable job of editing! (which we all hate but which makes us better at what we do.)

Of course.

But for some damn reason there is always an apostrophe that gets past me. :D

Susan Littlefield
10-24-2010, 02:06 AM
She really was a great storyteller. Her books are classics.

I have a bit of a different perception. Say an editor has two stories on their desk, and they are directed they must choose one. One is an outstanding story with excellent characters, lots of twists and turns, but it's clear this author has a problem with spelling and punctuation. The other is a horrible story lacking in voice, character, and anything else essential, but the spelling and punctuation and grammar are perfect (and I mean perfect).

Which story do you think the editor will choose? I know which one I would choose.

I would say the one with misspellings because the story is already there. The one with no story cannot be fixed, because there is no story to fix.

Kate Thornton
10-24-2010, 06:37 PM
I agree with you Susan - spelling & punctuation can be fixed, but a great story is a gem, worth any amount of fixing to let that light shine through.

thothguard51
10-24-2010, 11:31 PM
It appears Austin did not write flawlessly as suggested by her family. Here is the link on the article...

http://www.aolnews.com/world/article/academic-says-jane-austen-got-lots-of-help-from-editor/19686889

Perhaps her editor should receive more credit than not...

I think this just goes to show the importance of a good editor, no matter how good the author thinks they are...

brainstorm77
10-24-2010, 11:38 PM
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=194771 a thread for this is already posted.

thothguard51
10-24-2010, 11:42 PM
I apologize, if the Mods want they can merge or even delete this thread then...

Susan Littlefield
10-24-2010, 11:43 PM
Nick, someone already started a thread on this here (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=194771). :)

Susan Littlefield
10-24-2010, 11:44 PM
Oh. Someone was posting at the same time as me. :D

Soccer Mom
10-25-2010, 04:28 AM
And the threads are now merged. It's like...magic.

thothguard51
10-25-2010, 05:47 AM
Thank you...

blacbird
10-25-2010, 10:10 AM
I don't think Austen's several centuries of fans were reading her primarily for her punctuation and diction. Oh, the academia.

Jane Austen has less than two centuries of fans. She died in 1817.

And issues of punctuation and diction were less rigid in her day than grammarians and punctuationarians today allow.

gothicangel
10-25-2010, 04:19 PM
Jane Austen has less than two centuries of fans. She died in 1817.

And issues of punctuation and diction were less rigid in her day than grammarians and punctuationarians today allow.

You haven't heard of an eighteenth century gentleman by the name of Samuel Johnson then? He wrote dictionaries . . .;)

Susan Littlefield
10-25-2010, 06:24 PM
And the threads are now merged. It's like...magic.

How magical is that?

shaldna
10-26-2010, 02:08 AM
So what's this chicks problem? JA couldn't spell or punctuate? So? How many writers anywhere can say they write a perfect copy every time?

This is part of the reason I turned away from academia

Hallen
10-26-2010, 04:19 AM
I think it's interesting, if true. Consider this, no editor would spend time on a manuscript so hopeless as to not be worth the effort. If her works were "heavily" edited, then to what extent does "heavily" mean? It is very clear, from what little we know of her life, that she wrote and re-wrote her novels many times. What stage of manuscript did Sutherland review? Also, can any of you imagine letting an editor edit your work and then publish without checking with you? Why would a no-name, only partially formally educated woman, be granted such grandiose editing efforts in the first place? My guess is simple, Austen did most of it. We all need help with spelling and grammar. We all need another set of eyes to help us smooth out those awkward sentences. The core of the work must be in place prior to spending more effort on it.

In other words, there's a lot of reasons why her early manuscripts could look like they did. The inevitable conclusion does not need to be that she had a lot of help.

I think some of this is simply sour grapes, or, an effort to promote one's own career with something controversial. Academics have a tendency to make mountains out of mole hills.

artemis31386
10-26-2010, 06:49 AM
But if your punctuation and grammar take me out of your great story, then you've shot yourself in the foot. Do your homework, do your writing, do your editing. Yeah, it's work - but it can make all the difference. I'm not talking about regional dialect or the way your *character* talks. I'm talking about the way you as a writer speak to your readers.

I agree.