Sunday, August 26, 2012


"In Britain, an editor will permit a writer to make an allusion if he, the editor, understands it. In America, an editor might well understand it but he will want it taken out, for fear the readers won't".-- Clive James in the Atlantic



Retrieverman said...

I think that might be one reason why we're called the United States of Amnesia or the United States of Alzheimer's.

No one can make connections, either by allusion, analogy, or metaphor.

Anonymous said...

My take on it is that we're a really diverse country, where even people who shouldn't be reading still try to read. Maybe those same people in Britain (those who shouldn't be reading) are shooting up heroin like they ought to be, instead of interfering with the publishing industry?

Your quote is classic America bashing, but clever, so it gets a pass from me!


Steve Bodio said...

The critic is an Aussie- Brit who loves the US, in a review of Pauline Kael, who was utterly sui generis and was hired by Shawn at the New Yorker. My purpose for posting is to question-- I have had BOTH kinds of editors in the US, though more of the "Our readers are dumb" kind-- UNfortunately.

Even the NYRKR had both-- Harold Ross pushed for clarity and simplicity, Shawn was odder but unpredictable.