British publisher Weidenfeld and Nicolson (an imprint of Orion Publishing Group) is launching a new line called Compact Editions (strapline: “Great Books in Half the Time”) in spring. From the Guardian:
[The publisher] claims that market research shows many readers are put off by the “elitist” image of classics and by their daunting length and small print.
At first I thought I would dispute Joel Rickett’s claim that “no publisher has dared to meddle with the texts – until now,” though: what about Reader’s Digest Condensed Books? Upon further review, Cleveland Amory is no Leo Tolstoy.
At Biology of the Worst Kind, Jenny Diski delivers the opposition party’s response.
But don’t fret – so sympathetic are these editors that they will keep the central plot, characters and historical background. Pity really, I could get quite excited about a 21st century Anna Karenina set in Chislehurst and renamed Paige Simkins (she doesn’t die in the end – the train’s cancelled on account of engineering works).
More and more, it feels as if the Monty Python sketches are coming true.
Thanks to Dan Kraus for the link!