Re: RARA-AVIS: Revising novels

Date: 21 Jan 2005


Re your comments below:

> 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.

That (the author's choosing to make changes) is probably the reason Donald Lam's war service was changed to a vacation in later reprint editions.

I don't know that for sure, but Gardner was known to be very proprietary about all editions of his books. He was also known to eschew topical references because he wanted his books to appear timeless, not dated by surface details.

He may have regretted sending Lam off to war specifically because of this, because it locked Lam into a specific age. Consequently, he changed his military service into a vacation in later editions, so Lam could still appear as a man vaguely in his 30's, in books from the '60's and '70's.

Gardner's most prominent character, Perry Mason, didn't go to war at all, though he was young enough to, and his small-town DA, Doug Selby, only did a short stint of military service between books that was referred to briefly (and, anyway, the DA books were never reprinted after the early '60's, at least to the best of my knowledge).
> 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.

Another good example of an author revising his own work. In the first version of "Finger Man," the hero is nameless. He is later revealed to be Carmady by the time he reappears in "Goldfish."

The series character Chandler created for DIME DETECTIVE is a similar, indeed virtually identical, character named John Dalmas. Dalmas appears in, among other stories, "Red Wind" and "Trouble Is My Business."

Later, in THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER, Chandler revised all four of those stories. Among other changes, he makes Philip Marlowe the name of the hero in all four stories.

So is Marlowe's first appearance in 1939's THE BIG SLEEP or several years earlier in "Finger Man?"


__________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? All your favorites on one personal page - Try My Yahoo!

------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> What would our lives be like without music, dance, and theater? Donate or volunteer in the arts today at Network for Good!

RARA-AVIS home page:
  Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 21 Jan 2005 EST