chapter  3
24 Pages

The Editor and the Book

If readers make texts from the page, and theatre practitioners and audiences make texts from stage performances, editors make texts from physical books. Understanding the book, in terms of Shakespeare studies at least, is vital, since it makes possible the actions both of reading and of performing. In the past the study of books has dealt formally with the words on paper, the paper itself, layout, typography, printing and binding; more recently these studies have been incorporating printing history, including sales, marketing and publicity, transportation and economics. The book you are reading partly comes into being because we would like to add the impact of the theatre not only to reading the page, but also to work on editing – and to encourage the interaction that we are calling transdisciplinarity. There is a distinct and valuable place for theatre practice in making editorial decisions, and some editors will want to find ways of integrating the implications of, for example, sets, costumes, lighting, stage sightlines, acting, directing and props, into their decision-making. These elements could be considered the formal aspects of theatre practice, but just as typography and printing are formal elements increasingly cast within a historical context, so theatre practice is relatively barren outwith history.