Sunday, 16 June 2013

Comments, Replies and Corrections...

First of all I want to thank all the readers of this blog who have taken the trouble to not only read my postings, but also to provide feedback.

If you look at the bottom of each post you'll see there's a little area which allows comments and responses. Many of you make use of this facility and I've often been impressed with the insights and information you've provided. I always read these with interest, appreciation and gratitude. What I haven't been able to do is reply to them.

Because, although there is a great big button marked 'Reply', all this would do is allow me to write a long and considered response — my feedback on your feedback — and then when I pushed the button it would disappear. Into the void. Forever.

After doing this half a dozen times, you can understand why I despaired and gave up replying. Of course, I tried to figure out what was going wrong. This being Blogger, though, the help and guidance provided is pretty much non-existent. So I asked more technically savvy friends. They too were baffled.

And naturally I trawled the internet for clues. Which is where, last week, I finally found the answer. I won't bore you with the details but it involved adjusting the third party cookies on my browser. Whatever they are. (The pictures from The Nutty Professor at the beginning of this post will give you some idea of my own estimate of my abilities in this technical area.)

So now I can reply to comments, and I'll endeavour to do so in a timely fashion. But just so I don't feel all alone with my screw-ups I thought I'd talk briefly about other people's. In particular, blunders by publishers.

Following on last week's discussion on The Great Gatsby I re-read Fitzgerald's novel, the better to compare it to the film (which I must say is holding up rather well). I read the handsome vintage Penguin Modern Classics copy I had on my bookshelf.

Unfortunately, it contains a risible printing mistake.

There's a scene where the narrator Nick Carraway is drunk at a party in an upstairs apartment in New York City. He looks out the window and describes "the casual watcher in the darkening streets". In my Penguin edition (Chapter 2, page 42) it goes on to say "and I saw him too, looking up and wondering."

Well, anyone who has read another edition of the book or seen the film, with Toby Maguire standing down in the street and looking up at himself in the window, will know the passage should actually read "and I was him too, looking up and wondering". (Italics in both quotes are mine.)

Quite a difference.

Although perhaps not as much as a blunder as in the first Penguin edition of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, which contains an afterword by the author, which concludes with the words "which the native illusionist, frac-tails flying, can magically use..."

(Frac-tails, as you may have guessed, are those long old fashioned black tailcoats.)

Well the Penguin edition rendered this as "frac-tails frying" (my italics). Which is not the same thing at all.

(Advice to publishers: try not to get a misprint in the last sentence of a book. Even the first sentence isn't as bad as that.)

That's all for now folks. And if you spot any typos in this post, you can leave a comment. And I can reply. The picture from The Nutty Professor at the end of this post will indicate that I'm a lot happier about my abilities in this area now. Jerry's happy because he's got Stella. I'm happy because I've triumphed over my cookies.

(The image of Jerry Lewis from the Nutty Professor holding the test tube full of green stuff is from Broadway dot Com. The Penguin Gatsby with the Kees Van Dongen cover painting is from good old GoodReads. The Penguin Lolita is from Giraffe Days. The Nutty Professor image with the pink background is, by a very odd coincidence, from a site called Lolita's Classics. The other Nutty Professor image featuring Jerry and Stella Stevens is from Cinésthesia. The photo of Josephine Baker looking decidedly fetching in her frac-tail coat is from Stage Wear. By the way, don't try and look up 'frac-tails' online, because the moronic search engines will insist that you mean 'fractals'.)

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