The classics, with all the crap taken out

Perhaps this will console copywriters who’ve toiled over the text of an ad only to see it severely truncated. According to an article in the online incarnation of London’s Times, a British publisher is bringing out “compact editions” of such classics as Vanity Fair and Middlemarch, each 30-40 percent shorter than the original. (Hat tip to ArtsJournal for flagging the story.) The idea is that people haven’t the time or patience for the full-length originals these days. Getting into the spirit, the Times offers its own ultra-compact version of Anna Karenina: “The problem is, thought Anna—her aristocratic brow furrowing slightly under a fabulous new hat—men look so irresistible in uniform! Ditto boots, billowing shirts and moustaches! Hang marriage. Hang motherhood. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a train to catch.”

—Posted by Mark Dolliver