Press enter after choosing selection

Correcting For The Press

Correcting For The Press image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

íí Pifgan rgas In first oliiss printing-houses, in the oldcn timos, great jmiiis wcro taken and no exi ed to issne perfect b In glancing over tli; works printed ono ov two bundred years ngo, we wonder at their accuracy, and in coinparing tbcm with modern works, we are foroed to admit that the irt of typrgraphy hns not so greatly advanoed fis mony other ,irts we oonld name. Wc do not tliink, howerer, that modern bopk-publishers work any barder to roach perfeotioa than did thoso of the old days, wlio sfom to havo resorted to anj shrewed stratagem to securo excellent and linished editions. Robbert Stephens, ono of the carly printera, who Burpaased iu corroctness those who exercised tho sumo profe3sion, in order to reuder liis books untuaculate, lniug l tho proofs in public places, and generonsly recoiupensud thoso who were so fortúnate as to dotect an errata. Tnus he not only brought to bcar the wisdom and aecuracy of the learntd men of his city, that his cditions might bo froe of errora, but ho eiuploycd evcry reading niat: who ■ walked tho streets to labor forhim. AVhat a crowd such a rcward wonld draw around a proof in thia intelligent ae and in this Christain country, whero evcry man and boy is a, reader I In the early days of printing, of course, tbe most learned men were the proof readers. Still the art of printing vas theu vory rude, and the corrector did not havo nearly the labor he has at this timp. It was not neoessary that he should have 80 miiny cyos ; as he had not, in his book 6o many tilines to look after. In iunctuatinr, no marks woro emjiloyeri ot'ior than the period and colon ; an oblique strokr was afterward introduced, and fuliillcd tho parpose of our comma. Pages had npither running-titlo nor nuniber. The divisions of words and sentences wero vory imperfect, aiulthe laneuage was not divided into paragraphs. Capital letters wero not used to connnence a sentenco, nor in proper names. Nö rules scom t.o havo tegulated tho orthograjjhy, whicb. was entirely without method, und tho abbreviaioae were so numerous as to ouse thonecessity, in time, of publishing o book with the direetions in wbioh they could bo read. But ono kind of letter ■was ised throughout. This was all very simple. " w we can not pubiish a book without runuing-titles at the tops of each pao, sometimos changed to give tho subject of the chaptor, and sometimos the subject of tho pago itself, accordincr to the whiin or taste of the author. Wo now have chaptor-heada, sub-heads, ecctionheads, sub-sub-heads, sido, top, hangingindention, or heads run into the paragraph, as the case may be, - all in different types. We havo a grcat diversity of points, and marks, abbreviations, capitals, omall capitals, italics, etc. All these aro to bo systomatized, and kept in harmony througgout. We have manuscript as reckkss as that of Kufus Choate, which aceording to Baniol Websnr, resembled a "gridirou Btmok by ligatning." Vory few authors are careful to ruako a tion oeiween u ana n or uio caprnus ,j aui ƒ in their nrmuscript, so that in caso of unusual words, suoh as thcnames of littloknown places or persons, tho proof-reader is frequently in a diloninia. To bo suro, he hus his cyoloposdias and dictionaries- "kit" frequontly furnished by himsolf - but theso do not always bring light out of tho darkness. Tour composior and proof reader will teil you, too, for a wonder, that if thero i- an unusnally ob. acure and difficult sesquipedal men tioned, tho writer of illogiblo manuscript takes particular pains to twist hislettersintothe most tortuous shapes, in order to tïirow a moro lftbyrmthine web of doubt and confusión about the word, - something worso tlian a Gordian knot, ifc can neither be untied or cut. If we could spcalc, through the liiiionlur;, to the two millious of writers lor tho press on onr globe - nnd wc cun si)o;ik to a large portion of them - wo would say, write your names of places nnd persons so disHnctly tliat tho wayfaring man though a fool.may not orr tfaerein It wiil save cl great cfoftl of iiard fcoling, we assuro you ; and help to make better Christiaus out ot' that feoblor sort of printers who cannot beai martyrdom, ftOWevor slight, in howsoevor good a cause. Tho peculiar fnct may bestatod, in this oonnection, that writers for tho press nrc genorally Ios3 careful in tlieir chirography than writera of private letters. In writing for the press they have the public beforo their eyes - they feel that they aro standing in its illustrious preseneo - while in epistolary writing they havo only the individual beforo thora. In the first case, thoy nro inspired to say thoir bost tlnngs, recrardless of the medium ; in the second, tho medium of communieation is uppermoBt in their minds, while the thought and modo of expression are Bubordinato, though they bear a 1 oiently iraposing position. The public Í6 a myriad soulod Being, whieh may bo inflnonced by lofty ideas clothed in eloquent and sublimo languago. The iadiTidual is a prosaic follow, who criticises the mechanical executinn of your letter aud laughs at any high-flown orbrilliant sentonces. In tho one case, the wriior exercises hi3 mihd mcchanically ; int}' other, he is carried away on tho wings of fancy. 13ut why slioiild not authorg get into tho ii!?;iL of writing correctly !'.r tho prss ? It might save many a ludicrous error in tho publishod editions of their


Old News
Michigan Argus