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The Work of Revision
Revision might seem to be an intrinsic part of good writing. But Hannah Sullivan argues that we inherit our faith in the virtues of redrafting from early-twentieth-century modernism. Closely examining changes made in manuscripts, typescripts, and proofs by T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and others, she shows how modernist approaches ...more
Hardcover, 349 pages
Published June 10th 2013 by Harvard University Press
(first published June 1st 2013)
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The primary limitation of this book is that it is a book on artistic revision written by a researcher. Granted, studies of revision by fellow writers can (and has) led to romanticized speculation that ultimately has little basis in the revision work actually studied. Sullivan's perspective limits itself to a literary critical view with little insight into artistic process outside of scratches on a page, which is sometimes all that's needed, but other times only the surface of the interior ...more
Though large portions of the close readings contained in this volume will only be accessible to those familiar with the texts Sullivan is discussing, the basic premise of this book—that the act of revision and the values that surround it are culturally constructed—is an interesting one. At times, however, this premise felt out of line with the chronological spot where Sullivan attempted to locate the emergence of a particular reverence for revision, especially given her close readings ...more
Sullivan argues that the high value we place on revision is connected to the opposition that modernism drew between the demands of art and commerce. The willingness to revise over and over, that is, was proof of a commitment to artistic expression over the mere desire to make money. She also shows how a particular technological moment--in which writers tended to draft by hand, have a fair copy typed up, mark up that copy and have it turned into print galleys, and then edit those galleys--made ...more
Hannah Sullivan, born in California, currently lives in Idaho with her husband and children. An avid reader and runner, she decided to try her hand at writing when her daughter asked for a more "grown-up" version of the family THUNDER stories. So, doing what any mother would do, she said, "Yes, why not?" And started to write. With some fantastic help and new friendships, a novel was born! Her ...moreMore about Hannah Sullivan...