mardi 3 janvier 2012

Interesting typo in the New York Review of Books

Originally uploaded by Julius Beezer
Like anyone who has edited articles for the press, I fancy myself good at spotting typos.
In a publication as august as the NYRB such errors seem vanishingly rare, so when they do occur, they are interesting.
Of course, automated spellchecking will catch malformed words that appear in no dictionary, but there is no substitute for the human eye for misplaced valid words—in this case an extra "a" in Louis Begley's review of a newly translated biography of Simon Wiesenthal by Tom Segev. (NYRB Dec 8-21, 2011, vol LVIII, No 19, p46, col 4, line 69).
This has the look of a remnant of a hasty (and partial) deletion of a few words from the offending sentence, most likely as part of a last minute tweak to get the text to fit nicely into the allocated space in the editorial plan. The nature of the content makes one fantasise about last minute legal or political pressure on the editorial team, but this is sheer fantasy. A Freudian slip?
I once met a young man whose team at a big bank spent its days tracking missing millions. This happens all the time apparently. He assured me that cock-ups outnumber conspiracies by a huge margin. This is probably the case here, but it seemed worth adding to the mysterious disappearance sequence anyway.

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