Saturday, 31 December 2011

Writing Books: the Way We Were Then




I have a small room in my flat which is a constant reminder to me that my father hoarded junk in his caravan on a scale which made visiting an encounter with an obstacle course.

This morning, I have been trying to tidy up my room, a task I discharge several times a year, willing myself to throw things away.

The room contains suitcases, empty boxes, my bicycle (which I don't ride), Bags for Life, my library and my life history insofar as that it is deposited in written and other documents: there are such things as reel to reel recordings of lectures I gave in the early 1970s and which were precursors to my first book, Language Truth and Politics, published in 1975.

No sooner published than I took two copies of the book and broke them up. I pasted the book, page by page, onto the right hand sides of a large desk diary and used this to record comments and criticisms of the book, to add further references and to make amendments for what I hoped would be a second edition - which did indeed appear in 1980.

Illustrated above, a right hand page with the beginning of Chapter IV and the surrounding comments which extend to the facing left hand page. I guess few people would work like this now. And the result was not particularly happy: the second edition is even more cluttered with footnotes and parentheses than the first. You can see from the sample page above how that came about.

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