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Each of the three parts runs roughly four columns in the Times: the first column of the first part contains general comments about this particular biography and the practice of biography generally; the second column is an overview of Charles Napier's character; and the remaining ten columns are an abridgment of the biography, beginning with Napier's parentage and ending with his death.
Wilkie Collins is right in protesting against the ordinary method of reviewing novels, the greater part of the review being devoted to an abridgment of the story.
He argues that George Eliot's theme is "that we are all alike, that our natures are the same, and that there is not the mighty difference which is usually assumed between high and low, rich and poor, the fool and the sage, the best of us and the worst of us." Only "matured minds," he continues, learn to see past the surface differences that mark us as individuals; "it is only after much beating about, long intercourse with society, and many strange discoveries and detections, that the truism which we never doubted becomes a great reality to us, and we feel that man is like to man even as face answers to face in a glass." The ramifications of this idea for the subject of textual abridgment are significant.
Rather, it seeks only to demonstrate that legislative and judicial abridgments of most expression rights would be proscribed a priori by a rational rule of constitutional contract.
I approach the problem of theory-building by exposing the "first amendment" rule of constitutional contract that a society of rational (i.e., utility-maximizing) individuals would adopt in order to protect private expression rights against arbitrary and coercive abridgment by the state.
Expression of this sort reduces the welfare of all individuals in the long run, and so is left vulnerable both to private tort action and to statutory abridgment in situations where abridgment is more efficient on balance than piecemeal litigation.
Perhaps the most practical conclusion to be drawn from arguments about public goods and communal benefits is that some expression rights reside in a "commons" where no single individual or distributional coalition has a sufficient interest to defend them against arbitrary abridgment by the state.
The central issue of contemporary thinking (naked rent-seeking aside) is whether individuals are better served by a constitutional doctrine that places private rights of expression up for political grabs (along with most other property rights) or, alternatively, by a doctrine that protects expression rights against arbitrary abridgment by the state.
Third, decision makers and private parties alike have an incentive to capture ideological rents by imposing private moral preferences on others through the abridgment of private rights in everyday speech.
In three central chapters which focus on the novelistic practices of Samuel Richardson, Ann Radcliffe, and George Eliot, Price aligns the anthology with its disreputable cousins--the abridgment, the expurgated edition, the bowdlerization--in order to show how these little-studied forms exerted an influence on reading in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Price describes the ways in which Clarissa became anthologized and abridged, but also, and more originally, she reveals how anthologization and abridgment are built into the narration of that novel.
He had an abridgment made a year later by <IR> JOSEPH EMERSON WORCESTER </IR> , who one day would produce a dictionary that became for a while a great rival of Webster's dictionary.