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The Cat's Cradle

May 27, 2021

The Cat’s Cradle: Entering the World of Publishing

By Benjamin Ervin | For The Post

O hio University is home to a rare influx of university presses and student presses. “Sphere,” “New Ohio Review,” “Quarter After Eight” and “Ohio University Press” being some of the more prominent institutions on campus. However, very rarely are they discussed outside of Ellis Hall, and rarer still is an explanation or any details given on the editing and publishing process.

Editing and publishing have been a part of civilization since the invention of writing. Though pre-printing press manuscripts were handwritten and rarely shared, they were subject to recreation and distribution. Particularly, Bibles were seen as a part of the Middle Ages and were a mark of class or faith. It was not uncommon to see a soldier or noble sporting a treasure bound Bible on a chain.

The invention of the printing press made literature more widely accessible. This led to publication (licensed or not) of popular works of fiction. Here we get the printings of the works of Shakespeare, especially Hamlet, in the form of the quarto and folio.

These quartos and folios are some of the only examples of the Bard’s works and present a window into his work, and the editing that occurs. Nowhere is this more evident in the famous monologue given by Hamlet in Quarto One as compared to the Quarto Two.

Recreated by a play member, the Quarto monologue is famous for being the “Bad Quarto.” Believed to be a recollection from memory, the first quarto lacks eloquence or length of the final monologue edited into Quarto Two, which is regarded as the definitive edition.

Editing as an art has developed since Shakespeare, requiring theory and conferences on the spelling of gray, uses of italics and dropped hyphens. Editors take the role of both reader and critic, working through a piece to make it more in line with a select audience and grammatically correct. For editors of literary journals, this is a part of the job.

New Ohio Review” and “Quarter After Eight” are the faculty-run literary journals on campus. Taking submissions from across the nation, these journals publish short fiction, poems and nonfiction on an annual to semi-annual basis.

Ohio University Press” acts as a full-time publisher taking in doctoral thesis and novels. The small publishing house titles can be found in the University Library, online or at the Little Professor.

For students who are looking to engage with or become a part of the publishing community, there are a few opportunities. First, there are internships provided to Juniors or Seniors at New Ohio Review and Ohio University Press. These internships vary but provide hands-on experiences in publishing, fact-checking and line editing.

Another option for students is the “Editing and Publishing” class offered through OU. Requiring students to create their own Journal, it is not uncommon to find flyers for one-time student Journals across campus. Acquisition and submissions are completely student-led and taught by an experienced editor.

A third option is the student lead “Sphere.” Opening every Fall to submissions and printing in Spring, this annual student Journal is the only student-run literary journal. Each Fall, submissions are open to anyone, and new positions open on the staff. Students will get first-hand experience of working in the publishing community.

These are only a few of the student lead publications at Ohio University. While different schools provide different opportunities for publication. Coming to OU provides a chance to engage in and be a part of a publishing community that is populated by readers, editors and writers. In the Fall give it a chance to submit to or read one of these publications.

Benjamin Ervin is a senior studying English literature and writing at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Benjamin know by emailing him

AUTHOR: Benjamin Ervin
EDITOR: Mikayla Rochelle
COPY EDITOR: Ashley Beach