Book Blog – Likely Stories, from Booklist Online » Blog Archive » Was Carver’s prose cut too lean?
Booklist Online

Booklist Online: More than 130,000 book reviews for librarians, book groups, and book lovers - from the trusted experts at the American Library Association

| | | | | | | | | | |
Book Blog - Likely Stories, by Keir Graff - Booklist Online

Likely Stories

A Booklist Blog
Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

« »

Monday, December 3, 2007 3:26 pm
Was Carver’s prose cut too lean?
Posted by: Keir Graff

In the Guardian (“What a carve-up“), James Campbell uses the flap over Tess Gallagher’s plans to publish a retitled, reedited version of Raymond Carver’s What We Talk about When We Talk about Love (1981) as a jumping-off point to examine the larger phenomenon of “restored” texts. There’s some thought-provoking stuff about Carver (who “now belongs in the peculiar community of writers who have published more after death than before”)…

But then, if Gallagher and Stull get their way, and the formerly stultified L. D. is permitted to shout and repeat himself, where stands the reputation of Carver, one of the most influential writers of American prose of the past quarter-century? In later books, such as Cathedral, Carver appeared to be progressing to a more ample style – a development not welcomed by all his readers. According to Stull, “the ostensible transformation of Raymond Carver from minimalist to humanist was not a change of head or heart. It was a change of hands.” For better or worse, it seems, the firm must be restored to its original proprietorship: not Carver & Lish Ltd; just Raymond Carver Enterprises.

…followed by a brief discussion of two other examples, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Richard Wright’s Native Son. (The war over War and Peace, while not attacked, is also a worthy target.)

Not to spoil the ending, but Campbell’s conclusion kind of reminds me of some of the reactions to J. K. Rowling’s recent revelations about her characters’ secret lives.

We can only wait to see if they succeed in reaching an accommodation with Knopf (my guess is that they will). But however altruistic they may be, there is no escaping the fact that their mission to rescue L. D. from his abduction by Gordon Lish will bring about his demise in the place where he really lives: the imagination of readers.

Comments

comments

3 Responses to “Was Carver’s prose cut too lean?”
  1. English Language Books of Fiction » Blog Archive » Was Carver’s prose cut too lean? Says:

    [...] Was Carver’s prose cut too lean?By Keir…followed by a brief discussion of two other examples, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Richard Wright’s Native Son. (The war over War and Peace, while not attacked, is also a worthy target.) Not to spoil the ending, but Campbell’s …Book Blog – Likely Stories, by… – http://blog.booklistonline.com [...]

  2. Dave Lull Says:

    See also “A New Version of Agee’s Classic Novel” by Kate Taylor:

    http://www.nysun.com/article/67358

    and “Professor restores Agee novel” by Yasmine Alotaibi:

    http://dailybeacon.utk.edu/showarticle.php?articleid=52535

  3. Book Blog - Likely Stories, by Keir Graff - Booklist Online » Blog Archive » Discovery! Rediscovered, Disputed Says:

    [...] The Associated Press (”Dispute over long-buried Stegner book,” by Lisa Leff) has another story about editing and disputed versions, this time involving Pulitzer Prize-winner Wallace Stegner: SAN FRANCISCO – A small publishing house did not have to dig far to unearth a long-buried book Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Wallace Stegner wrote a half-century ago about oil exploration in the Middle East.  [...]


Leave a Reply



© 2014 Booklist Online. Powered by WordPress.
Quoted material should be attributed to:
Keir Graff, Likely Stories (Booklist Online).




HOME | | AWARDS | GREAT READS | BLOGS | NEWSLETTERS | WEBINARS | MY ALERTS | MY LISTS | MY PROFILE | HELP | SUBSCRIBE
BOOKLIST PUBLICATIONS
American Library Association