Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It Ain't Carved in Stone

Ms Baroque writes belatedly - and interestingly - about Tess Gallagher's intention to re-issue Raymond Carver's stories with Gordon Lish's editorial changes reversed.

Me too - belatedly, I mean. I think for us authors that news last week was too close to home for simple feelings and ready opinions. Well, it was for me at any rate, as I've done that very thing myself: reissued a book with the structure I'd been forced to abandon reinstated.

Editors, oh editors. (I can say these things, having been one.) Such power do they wield; with such delicacy and respect for an author's intentions do some wield it, with such disregard for this last do others wade in and consequently, in effect, substitute their own rewrites.

Like Gallagher, I'm pretty sure I made the right decision in undoing the editing - well, 99% sure anyway. But there's always that 1%, and all this speculation that the prose style for which Carver is so loved is not the one he intended, it's enough to make an author's blood run cold.
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