Many of these books, while marvellous, also suffered from being originally produced in installments, which meant that each section had to end with a cliff-hanger, regardless of whether the narrative required it or not. Others had to be finished in a hurry to meet a publisher's deadline.
If any of these books arrived on a publisher's desk today, chances are that an editor would be dispatched to wield a very sharp scalpel before the book was considered commercially viable. What, then, is so wrong about Weidenfeld & Nicolson deciding to do just that, albeit 100 or so years later?Because of course everything, including the works of long-dead authors, must conform to this nebulous concept of "commercial viability".
In schools and universities the full texts will still need to be studied - knowing how and why George Eliot rushed the ending of Mill on the Floss tells you a lot about the kind of writer and person she was. However, for "ordinary" readers - people who want nothing more than to be diverted by some of the greatest prose writing ever produced - I can't see why it matters if they opt for a crisper version of a rambling old classic.As usual, commenter Bellona manages to cut through the bullshit:
Then there's the appalling implication that "long/meandering" classics, as they are, are only suitable for utilitarian study. Only the philistine gods know why persons who ever champion the masses persist in painting them as homogeneous children who only want diversions--books being the replacement for baby mobiles?--and don't wish their pretty brains to be bothered; only if you're in academe could you possibly be intellectually curious!I'm glad somebody has the energy to yet again argue this point. I'm mentally exhausted just from cutting-and-pasting Hughes's drivel.