Monday, 2 May 2016
So why is rewriting so ubiquitous?
Rewriting manipulates, and it is effective. All the more reason, then, to study it. In fact, the study of rewriting might even be of some relevance beyond the charmed circle of the educational institution, a way to restore to a certain study of literature some of the more immediate social relevance the study of literature as a whole has lost.
Everything is rewritten; every word people say is rewritten. You have only to consider the current election campaigns - whether for the EU Referendum in the UK, or the presidential election in the USA - to see how much rewriting ... they call it spin ... is going on. From careful sound-biting to selective quoting, everyone's words are being made to say something different - probably lots of different things - as they are rewritten for a particular audience. Lefevere claims:
The same basic process of rewriting is at work in translation, historiography, anthologisation, criticism and editing. It is obviously at work in other forms of rewriting, such as adaptations for film and television.
It gets everywhere. We can never stop it but, if we can be aware (a) that it is happening and (b) what it sometimes looks like, we may get to the place where we can avoid being taken in or fooled by the manipulation and rewriting of news reporting and other media-based material.