Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Breaking point

I did eventually accede to the tearful e-mail pleas from my Chinese editor and return to that dratted article about Buddhist literature in China at the turn of the last century (a moderately interesting topic, had our author done anything more with it than stack together a lot of unnecessarily long-winded quotations that were so badly translated as to be mostly quite incomprehensible).  Yes, the one where the author conflated four or five different possible meanings of 'enlightenment' in every other sentence.  That one.

It fried my brain.  I put in nearly 20 hours of work on it between Thursday evening and Sunday evening last week.

There is perhaps a danger that my editor now thinks I am a soft touch.  Yesterday - without even asking - she tried to dump yet another monstrously long and monstrously badly written article on me.

It was a very abstruse and muddled piece on literary theory.  The abstract began: "Chinese literary theory follows the precepts of Marxist criticism."

Well, I deduce that's what it meant.  It actually said:  "Chinese literary system establishes a paradigm of Marxist-inspired criticizing activities."

I kid you not: "criticizing activities"!

And the author wanted to use 'literary system' as one of his category tags.  I'm not sure that 'literary system', in English, really means anything.  I rather think the author intended 'the literary establishment'.

I said NO.

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