Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Excitement in the office this morning, tho' I can't yet say any more. This, coupled with my fiveish cups of coffee had made me rather jittery by midday and there's nohing better for calming the nerves than a spot of indexing .

Are there any rules for what you can and can't include in an index? The previous one that I did was pretty straightforward; words like 'George Bush' went in and words like 'and' were left out. The book this time is Horribly Awkward and is posing more difficult questions. For instance, I decided that I would only include 'real people' (I think that phrase should always be between inverted commas) and not characters. But then come challenges to the dogma: I'd ideally like to include Royston Vasey, How could one leave Homer, Marge et al. out from the index of a book on contemporary comedy? And is there really going to be an entry marked thus: 'Brown, Roy Chubby p.67'?

Whatever decision we make, it's going to be a long index. Comedians, you see, do not, sit happily in their own chapters like good little boys and girls but keep popping up in each others' spaces. Then there are people like Simon Pegg and Rob Brydon who don't have chapters of their own so just seem to muscle in on everyone else's...

In other news, I've begun my search for the best edition of 1001 Nights . Which is proving a lot of fun - that last advisedly, I'm aware that this might not be everyone's idea of amusement - I rarely get to walk into bookshops in civilian mode. Indeed, I didn't this time either, so quickly: Foyles is great because it has loads of our European writers in its fiction section, Blackwells Charing Cross is great for making The Bookaholics' Guide one of its Christmas picks and Waterstones Putney similarly, because it has lots of The Flea Palace and Chocolate and Zucchini .

But back to the 1001 nights - it seems that there's three major translators: Antoine Galland, the man who introduced the stories to the West, Richard Burton, who was not, as I thought for a tantalising moment the same Burton who wrote The Anatomy of Melancholy but is still pretty gosh darn interesting and Husain Haddawy, who is , I think, contemporary. Oxford World Classics do the former (The first English translation of the former, I mean), Penguin the latterish and Everyman the latterest. There is also a version of the Burton with an introduction by AS Byatt by Random House. Oxford World Classics is the only complete text the other two are 'Tales from' but are still pretty hefty. The problem is, I had imagined that there would be a deluxe edition with pictures so that if I were ever to play a favourite uncle role, I would be able to stop during the narrative and ask 'does anyone want to see the pictures?' ...

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

Bit late to this, sorry. There is indeed a beautiful illustrated version of 1001 Nights - Illustrator is Jan Pienkowski and it's a gorgeous hardback priced at £14.99. Retold by David Walser based on the Richard Burton translations.

Hope this is of help,

Vanessa at Fidra