Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
A quickie ‘cuz I’m swamped today, but this is fascinating: Gordon Lish’s edits on Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.”
If you have time to go through some of it, you can see (and appreciate) the effect a sharp-eyed editor can have on a text. Some of it is subtle, some is heavier, and some is just different from Carver’s draft, but usually better. Of course, Lish is a fiction writer as well as a great editor, so perhaps he was putting his mark on Carver’s material in a way. Beside the point. He helped make this a classic of the genre.
(The photo is of a J.G. Ballard manuscript page in the British Library.)
[Note: Apparently the New Yorker has removed the link to images of Lish’s edits of a Carver manuscript. That’s too bad. You can still read the story about their relationship, though, which is here.]