0

Long preparing a new annotated edition of a well-known 20th-century architect's most significant publication, originally published in the mid-1950s, for republication in collaboration with the architect's heirs and a noted scholar. One of the most challenging issues has been the neglect by the author and editors of the original edition (from a reputable university press) in their treatment of excerpted material from other sources appearing in the text. There's a lack of strict scholarly protocol to citation and attribution, and instead, excerpts used are presented casually, with often inconsistent or sometimes non-existent means of citation. Addressing this in the new edition, yet doing so without being terribly obtrusive or degrading of the original work's lack of editorial oversight, has been a question of tact and approach, and always a challenge. Furthermore, as the new edition and its layout serves the text and excels in the presentation otherwise, margin notes are employed, directly across from relevant sections, instead of footnotes or endnotes. In cases of these historical editorial oversights, this is not a particularly elegant means to identify them, but works very well elsewhere for this edition. It is challenging here on the SE to present, with any brevity, the original sources, the author's manuscript, the originally published version, and denote the oversights/issues, but here's an attempted example:

University press edition, 1950s:

Again to quote Wells and Huxley: "Most people have seen a peacock displaying his train, perhaps the most sheerly beautiful sight in nature. The bustard inflates his throat, throws back his head and overts his wings so that he may strut before the hen like a surprising giant-white chrysanthemum."

The argus pheasant has perhaps the most striking ritual of all. The long brown wings, their pattern of light spots so wonderfully shaded that they look like solid spheres, are spread out and thrown forward like the bell of a great flower. His long tail plumes wave up and down and from under one wing an eye peeps out to keep the hen in view and to watch the ‘aesthetic effect’ on her.

The male Australian bowerbirds construct peculiar bowers which are quite different from their nests. The bower often consists of a short tunnel of twigs; at its entrance the bird deposits shells, bones, berries, and bright objects. This collection, comparable in appeal to Victorian bric-a-brac, appears to be a substitute for courting plumage; the display of the male consists of driving the female through the bower, and drawing her attention to his exhibit.

Here is the original source. Note that 1) in the above, only the first paragraph is denoted as an excerpt by keeping it in quotes. However, the next two paragraphs are taken almost entirely verbatim from the source and not put in quotes, albeit one paragraph is from another page; 2) The author/editors make a combination of very extremely minor changes such as adding/removing commas or substituting a dash, and two more major alterations involving new language, but overall, it's essentially ~90% identical.

Source: H.G. Wells, G.P. Wells, and Julian Huxley, The Science of Life (New York: Doubleday, 1931), p. 735.

Most people have seen a peacock displaying his train—perhaps the most sheerly beautiful sight in nature. The bustard inflates his throat, throws back his head, and everts his wings so that he may strut before the hen, like a surprising animated giant white chrysanthemum. The argus pheasant is perhaps the most striking of all. The long brown wings, patterned with a series of spots, wonderfully shaded so they look like solid spheres, are spread and thrown forward like the bell of a great flower. The long tail plumes wave up and down behind, and from below one wing an eye peeps out to keep the hen in view.

Source: Ibid, p. 740:

The males of the bower-birds, an Australian group, construct peculiar bowers which are quite different from their nests. The bower often consists of a short tunnel of twigs, at the entrance to which the bird deposits shells, bones, berries, and bright objects. This museum of specimens appears to be a substitute for courting decorations, and the "display" of the male consists in his driving the female through the bower and drawing her attention to his collection.

If one were to use brackets to denote the changes, it may looks like:

Again to quote Wells and Huxley: Most people have seen a peacock displaying his train, perhaps the most sheerly beautiful sight in nature. The bustard inflates his throat, throws back his head, and everts his wings so that he may strut before the hen, like a surprising giant white chrysanthemum. The argus pheasant [has] perhaps the most striking [ritual of] all. The long brown wings, [their pattern] of light spots [so] wonderfully shaded that they look like solid spheres, are spread out and thrown forward like the bell of a great flower. [His] long tail plumes [wave] up and down ... and from [under] one wing an eye peeps out to keep the hen in view [and to watch the ‘aesthetic effect’ on her].2

...The male [Australian bowerbirds] construct peculiar bowers which are quite different from their nests. The bower often consists of a short tunnel of twigs; at its entrance the bird deposits shells, bones, berries, and bright objects. This [collection, comparable in appeal to Victorian bric-a-brac], appears to be a substitute for [courting plumage]; the display of the male consists of driving the female through the bower, and drawing her attention to his [exhibit].3

And the accompanying margin notes/citations are then:

2. Wells and Huxley, op. cit., p. 735. [Ed. note: Author slightly modified this excerpt; his alterations are shown here in brackets. In the original Oxford University Press edition of the book, some excerpted material was not set in quotes or block quotation. All such excerpts are now denoted and appear with citations.]

3. Ibid., p. 740.

Apologies for the length — I see no other way. All input appreciated.

1 Answer 1

1

There is no rule how to do this. You as the editor of the revised edition must decide what you want. Every possibility is legitimate:

  1. Reprint the original without changes.
  2. Add notes that indicate mistakes on the part of the author or original editors and provide the corrections in a sidenote.
  3. Correct the text and provide an explanation what was changed in a sidenote.
  4. Correct the text and do not indicate the changes.
  5. Add a foreword or afterword that explains the changes.
  6. Correct the text and add an appendix that documents the changes.

I'm sure there are other options as well.

Your decision might be based on:

  1. What your target audience expects from a revised edition.
  2. What the cost is of the different options (higher editorial costs, higher printing costs) and if your target audience is willing to pay the increased price.
  3. Scholarly reasons.
  4. Aesthetic reasons.

Again, there are likely more considerations. You may want to brainstorm your approach with your team / publisher / members of the target audience. You may want to create sample pages of the different approaches and ask beta readers for feedback.

1
  • A thorough answer with the main possible options and acknowledgement that there are others. Since the architect was very well known, the work was widely read, and some of his modifications to the text are likely a combination of mistranscription and a type of commenting via insertion of his own words (and often italic emphasis, which is much easier to deal with), plus later changes by the OUP editors, I deem it important to honor his version, yet must walk a difficult line and not portray him as a plagiarizer. Where quote marks were left out or placed incorrectly, this must be stated in notes. Nov 28, 2023 at 18:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.