Jim A.

"Typographical" errors in reprints of Ayn Rand's work

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Does anybody know why the "typographical" errors in some of the reprints of Ayn Rand's works, which started appearing on bookstore shelves back in 1992 and published by New American Library (Signet, etc.), were not corrected for recent reprints and special editions?

This whole issue really bothers me, and angers me. Some of the 1992 period reprints were truly reprinted, some weren't. But the fact that any works have alterations--due to error--is especially outrageous in a day--and 1992 was part of this day--when a page of text could be scanned by computer and re-fonted. I put "typographical" in quotes because I don't think it was someone's slip of a finger that caused the errors; the way they often read, it sounds like the text was dictated to someone, and the way the words sounded to the typist is the way that typist put them on the page. So, now, when someone new to Ayn Rand picks up one of the newer editions that has the errors, they get things like certain errors in "The Conflicts of Men's Interests" in The Virtue of Selfishness. Just compare that essay in the new paperback to the same essay as printed in The Objectivist Newsletter. I think you will be just as outraged as I am. If you look on page 63 of the reprinted edition, you will read: "He may need clients, but not any particular customer...", and, in the next paragraph: "There is no job so slow that a better, more skillful performance of it would pass unnoticed..." The words "customer" and "slow" are not in the Newsletter text, nor in the original Signet printing, at those points in the essay. In the original version, those words are: "client" and "low".

I could go back to the books and compile a list of mistakes. But instead of that, to give you another example, why don't I refer you to one of the errors in the standard sized paperback edition--not the large-sized one--of The Fountainhead. On page 19 of the nineteenth printing of the novel--by Signet--Guy Francon is giving the commencement address to the graduating students of the Stanton Institute of Technology. He brings up the "three eternal entities": "Truth, Love and Beauty". But the second time he brings them up, he makes a slip. He wants to say: "...amed with courage and vision", but he starts to say: "...amed with the three eternal" entities. However--he cuts himself off. He says: "...amed with the three eternal enti--armed with courage and vision..." But in the small edition of The Fountainhead that came out at the same time the 35th anniversary edition of Atlas Shrugged did, that cut-off isn't there; Guy Francon says the complete word "entities".

Some people might say that such an error as the one I bring up is unimportant. I disagree 1000%. We're talking about the preservation of the literary legacy of the one person who may--may--in the end, pull our civilization out of the festering mystical-collectivist-altruist quagmire it is in and thereby prevent it's self-destruction. It is therefore critical, in my view, to maintain her works in their original state. In the case of "enti--": I consider a mistake like "entities" to be completely without excuse. The whole point of Ayn Rand writing the word as "enti--" is to show that Guy Francon, famed architect, is not to be taken seriously, and yet he is. He does not really believe the things he's saying; he's only saying them because they will probably enhance his prestige. And while saying them he is only transmitting to another graduating class the stale and false ideas that are destroying not only architecture, but the world.

Let's not encourage publishing companies to achieve the same end by making sloppy errors in reproducing the writings of a literary and philosophical giant.

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The worst misprint I have seen is the complete omission of Roark's classic "only down to a certain point" response to Dominque in a garbled passage of the New American Library Signet "Centennial Edition" of The Fountainhead (p.344), still being sold about a year ago (and still in print that way?).

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The worst misprint I have seen is the complete omission of Roark's classic "only down to a certain point" response to Dominque in a garbled passage of the New American Library Signet "Centennial Edition" of The Fountainhead (p.344), still being sold about a year ago (and still in print that way?).

Typos are bad enough, but this last really is outrageous. That is a stellar example of Rand's mind and writing and to have it entirely omitted...? Sheesh.

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Typos are bad enough, but this last really is outrageous. That is a stellar example of Rand's mind and writing and to have it entirely omitted...? Sheesh.

This was the original paragraph (courtesy of Phil's CD):

"I want you to know. What you're thinking is much worse than the truth. I don't believe it matters to me—that they're going to destroy it. Maybe it hurts so much that I don't even know I'm hurt. But I don't think so. If you want to carry it for my sake, don't carry more than I do. I'm not capable of suffering completely. I never have. It goes only down to a certain point and then it stops. As long as there is that untouched point, it's not really pain. You mustn't look like that."

The Centennial addition printed:

"I want you to know. What you're thinking is much worse than the truth. I don't believe it matters to me—that they're go- [followed by the end of a previous paragraph repeated here] raised her head. Her face looked as if she knew his worst suffering and it was hers and she wished to bear it like this, coldly, asking no words of mitigation.

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A rational person might reasonably think that these publishers would approach complete perfection over time, in the words/punctuation being printed, and wonder why *additional* typos might occur. That's because, as recently as a few years ago, and perhaps *even now*, they - steady yourself - manually re-key the manuscripts for new printings, rather than perfecting and re-using a single electronic manuscript. I know, I couldn't believe it myself.

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I seem to remember ARI saying that they had corrected errors, but the corrections were ignored by the printer.

I've notice a general degradation of printed work. There are typos and senseless sentences in almost everything I read. It is outrageous. I think they make the "corrections" the program tells them with no regard for the context or proper word.

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I've notice a general degradation of printed work. There are typos and senseless sentences in almost everything I read. It is outrageous. I think they make the "corrections" the program tells them with no regard for the context or proper word.

Ditto. Just about every time my wife and I go shopping, I point out basic spelling and grammatical errors in signage in the stores. Not just hand-printed stuff either, but things that have gone through professional printing and are up in dozens or hundreds of places in national chain stores. Often the errors are ones that a spelling checker would have picked up, which makes me think it isn't even a reliance on inadequate tools. The people doing this stuff just don't care about getting the details right.

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A rational person might reasonably think that these publishers would approach complete perfection over time, in the words/punctuation being printed, and wonder why *additional* typos might occur. That's because, as recently as a few years ago, and perhaps *even now*, they - steady yourself - manually re-key the manuscripts for new printings, rather than perfecting and re-using a single electronic manuscript. I know, I couldn't believe it myself.

Yeesh. I wonder if such people would be so cavalier with the works of Shakespeare or the Bible.

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Yeesh. I wonder if such people would be so cavalier with the works of Shakespeare or the Bible.

If they are similar to those I'm used to working with, sad to say they wouldn't know who Shakespeare was. Educational standards in this country were never high, but they have been... differently abled ... for some time now.

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If they are similar to those I'm used to working with, sad to say they wouldn't know who Shakespeare was. Educational standards in this country were never high, but they have been... differently abled ... for some time now.

It is bad enough when we are talking about literature, but consider the same problem with, say, a manual on airplane maintenance. The problem is actually deeper than that. Since the written word is the visual symbol of words, which are the symbols for our concepts, which are the fundamental material of our thinking--an inability to think the complete thoughts required by a sentence undercuts our rational faculty, our critical thought. Is it any wonder that we have so many people who are little Philip Reardons, terrified of a very complex world they cannot understand? I think this is what is behind so many people eager to jump on the viro's bandwagon.

Funny how it all shows up one way or another, huh.

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I seem to remember ARI saying that they had corrected errors, but the corrections were ignored by the printer.

I've notice a general degradation of printed work. There are typos and senseless sentences in almost everything I read. It is outrageous. I think they make the "corrections" the program tells them with no regard for the context or proper word.

So what do you--or anyone else--think can be done about this situation with what I call the "defective" reprints? Flood the New American Library with letters? Maybe.

I wish all those faulty reprints could be "recalled", but of course that isn't possible.

The situation really is discouraging (and, as I've said before, I'm angry about it).

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The situation really is discouraging (and, as I've said before, I'm angry about it).

I think the publishers who use defective processes to introduce new errors in their basic product should be given an ultimatum to fix that process or be fired in favor of another publisher who does care, as an explicit condition of getting the contract. That would, however, involve the active caring and participation of the copyright holder, who has the ultimate lever to effect such change.

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I think the publishers who use defective processes to introduce new errors in their basic product should be given an ultimatum to fix that process or be fired in favor of another publisher who does care, as an explicit condition of getting the contract. That would, however, involve the active caring and participation of the copyright holder, who has the ultimate lever to effect such change.

Until Jim A. brought up the issue of numerous typographical errors, I was not really aware that it was a current problem. I recall Alan Gotthelf once saying that Miss Rand went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that there were no typographical errors in the first printing of Atlas Shrugged. Perhaps, as Phil seems to indicate, the solution here is in a more aggressive approach towards the publisher.

I agree that it is extremely sad to see misprints mar the experience of reading Ayn Rand. Has anyone documented the errors in the current printings? Maybe doing so and forwarding the documentation to the Estate of Ayn Rand might act as an impetus to getting something done.

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I think the publishers who use defective processes to introduce new errors in their basic product should be given an ultimatum to fix that process or be fired in favor of another publisher who does care, as an explicit condition of getting the contract. That would, however, involve the active caring and participation of the copyright holder, who has the ultimate lever to effect such change.

Ray Bradbury had this same kind of problem, especially with FAHRENHEIT 451. When he noticed the errors -- some of which, as in this case, seemed more than "accidental" -- he gave the publishers hell. That did the trick. Whereas Miss Rand can no longer do so, I would think that the copyrioght holder (presumably Dr. Peikoff) could. If I am mistaken about that, I suppose angry letters from people like you might be effective.

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Until Jim A. brought up the issue of numerous typographical errors, I was not really aware that it was a current problem. I recall Alan Gotthelf once saying that Miss Rand went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that there were no typographical errors in the first printing of Atlas Shrugged. Perhaps, as Phil seems to indicate, the solution here is in a more aggressive approach towards the publisher.

I agree that it is extremely sad to see misprints mar the experience of reading Ayn Rand. Has anyone documented the errors in the current printings? Maybe doing so and forwarding the documentation to the Estate of Ayn Rand might act as an impetus to getting something done.

Isn't ARI already maintaining a list of errors?

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James Lileks just sent in a manuscript for publication. In talking about it, I noticed this sentence, which was given as an aside:

I think they're printing in Portugal this time. Could be China.

I'd be interested in knowing if this is a part of the problem with the works we're talking about.

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I'd be interested in knowing if this is a part of the problem with the works we're talking about.

It's possible that the re-keying is being done in third world countries. A lot of such work is done in India, the Philippines, etc. To me though, that changes nothing - the books shouldn't be rekeyed at this point anyway, they should be in an electronic document that is carefully proofread by top editors and refined ever further over time, not constantly retyped by $0.10/hr laborers with a thin grasp of English.

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It's possible that the re-keying is being done in third world countries. A lot of such work is done in India, the Philippines, etc. To me though, that changes nothing - the books shouldn't be rekeyed at this point anyway, they should be in an electronic document that is carefully proofread by top editors and refined ever further over time, not constantly retyped by $0.10/hr laborers with a thin grasp of English.

I agree. But I was simply wondering if the printing was, perhaps, being done elsewhere, and if that was a part of the general problem of an increase in typographical errors.

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I agree. But I was simply wondering if the printing was, perhaps, being done elsewhere, and if that was a part of the general problem of an increase in typographical errors.

The actual printing process would not introduce typos.

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I don't know. Until Jim A. mentioned the errors, I did not even know it was an issue.

Back in the 1990's, I believe Richard Ralston, through ARI, brought up the issue and was asking for people to submit to ARI references to page numbers, etc., where various "typos" have occured. I don't know what happened to that campaign. (And, again, the "typos" read to me like someone was taking dictation and did not hear certain words correctly.)

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