My Favorite “Editing Timekeeper” Moment (so far)
The situation: a local from 1790 encountering a time traveler from 1815.
The line: “Not only was the young woman without hat or kerchief, but she also appeared to be without a gown, to be clad in what certainly looked to Viktor’s eyes to be nothing more than a shift.”
The copyeditor’s comment: “Would not the Grecian shift style have arrived by this time and therefore be familiar to him?”
My internal response: Crap. Good point. Let me make sure.
My eventual written response: “I looked it up in The Costume History by Auguste Racinet. He says the Grecian shift arrived ‘suddenly’ in 1796. “Before 1794, the only modification in women’s clothes was in the fabrics…In 1796, women’s clothes were suddenly emancipated from the baleened and elongated bodice and tight-fitting gown.” He provides pictures. He’s writing specifically about French fashion, so it’s just possible it might be different for English or Swiss, but I feel comfortable taking the risk of saying that in 1790, Viktor would have perceived Elizabeth as under-dressed.”
I love my copyeditor. She is awesome. The level of attention to detail is just stunning.
I love The Costume History. Best (and most beautiful) impulse purchase ever ever ever.
I love my life. That there was billable time.