Re: RARA-AVIS: Revising novels

From: Michael Robison (
Date: 21 Jan 2005

Mark wrote about my dislike of revising novels:

In that case, you might want to hesitate before starting on those Tim O'Brien books you were asking about. From what I understand, he sees his books as works in progress and continues to revise some of them, so there are supposedly distinct differences between some editions.

************* Thanks for the warning, Mark. Evidently O'Brien must be fairly prominent. After looking at his books on Amazon, the site recommended Cliff Notes for THE THINGS THEY CARRIED. I wonder if O'Brien revised that book?

Last summer I read an essay about Crane's MAGGIE, and a lot of the discussion centered on the different versions. I realized then that although revisions usually don't amount to a large percentage of a work, the fact that the author chose to change them magnifies their significance.

To be honest I don't think revisions have a big impact on a casual reading, but if you're digging deeper you need high-topped boots. Answers to the simplest questions become murky, such as when Marlowe first appear in Chandler's work.


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