Geoffrey K. Pullum at Language Log surmises that The New Yorker has a policy against putting said and the like before the subject, no matter the length of the subject. Says Pullum,
The New Yorker apparently has a house-style prohibition on (if I may use the technical terms employed in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language) subject postposing in a parenthetical report frame for directly reported speech, even when the quoted speech is preposed.He cites this quotation, which I haven't verified:
"He used to have this great, dignified passion to him," Christopher Hitchens, who, until his own political change of heart, defended Chomsky, says. (Larissa MacFarquhar, "The devil's accountant", The New Yorker, March 31, 2003, p.67, column 2.)Obviously--so obviously that I feel silly pointing it out--this sentence could be made into a much easier read. As Pullum points out
the New Yorker's fierce and unyielding house style code will not allow the subject to be postposed, to yield what could have been a perfectly acceptable sentence:(Here I note that Pullum is inconsistent on whether "the" should be treated as part of the title of the magazine. In work, I need to notice this stuff, but in real life I passionately don't care about it. I mention it for the sake of my professional cred.)"He used to have this great, dignified passion to him," says Christopher Hitchens, who, until his own political change of heart, defended Chomsky.
I bring this whole thing up for a few reasons. First, it's interesting (if you're interested in this stuff, which I am). Second, obviously, if we come across this sort of antipostpositional nonsense in our work, we need to correct it (not that it's incorrect--it's just nonreadable). The third thing is less obvious and much more important. Early on, Pullum says the magazine "apparently has a house-style prohibition on...subject postposing." Later, he says the mag's "fierce and unyielding house style code will not allow the subject to be postposed." This is very seriously non-OK, and it happens a lot in the scholarly stuff we edit. Some new information is suggestive of something or other blah blah yuck yuck, and therefore whatever. We need to protest when the author of a work we're editing magically goes from suggestivity and apparentness to a solid "therefore," or, as in this case, forgets that something is merely apparent. I mean, right, we should make the protest look like a query. And they may say, incorrectly, that it's fine. But we need to do our job.
I realize Pullum may have been quasi-jokey when writing about the "fierce and unyielding house style code." But in editing scholarly books, this is a joke we need to be humorless about.