In this Delve we will compare versions of Raymond Carver’s short stories published originally in the collection titled What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (1981), edited by Gordon Lish, and the collection titled Beginners (2009) which contains the same seventeen stories restored to Carver’s original versions posthumously by his wife, poet Tess Gallagher. Our discussions will revolve around the differences such editorial decisions make in terms of tone and message received by the reader: When these cuts are made, what inhabits the spaces left behind? We’ll also examine other notable examples of altered versions, such as the works of Emily Dickinson in the custody of multiple editors and compilers. We’ll consider the differences between situations involving collaboration of author and editor, posthumous alteration, and self-editing, examining what kinds of biases and cultural phenomena might fuel these various scenarios. We will ask questions such as: What is the difference between editing and writing? What is style and who is responsible for the molding of an author’s voice? and, in Carver’s case, Who really crafted the minimalist style for which he is so well known?
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver
Beginners by Raymond Carver
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