Wolraich: Obama at the Gates of... Gates
Dr. C: In Praise of Writing Binges
Maiello: Gatsby Doesn't Grate
Brilliant lecture about history & development of Anne Frank's opus I ran across last night - including how much she re-wrote it her last year, how many pages went into it that weren't seen from the original, and from the speaker's view most important, that almost no one's given the book credence as literature in its own right, including a need to view its prose as creativity, not just a document.
One of the things she apparently does in revision is wipe out the stylistic differences - so instead of Joyce's "Portratit of the Artist" there-was-a-moocow-coming-along-the-road you get the style and diction of a 15-year-old over the entire 3 or so year period (where most kids change quite a bit).
She notes at the end Frank was putting out 11 new pages a day even while continuing her rewrite - spurred on by the Dutch radio to "save your memoirs" for after the war.
[Disclosure - I only got a few minutes of the lecture this morning, and have never read the diary except a few pieces, but I'm fascinated by the revisionism - typically Frank's work has been reviewed by critical deniers looking for chinks in the truth. But here's a look at her trying like a very clever young girl to prepare herself for a blossoming journalistic career, and the revisionist view also answers some questions about why it looks so good, so fluid - so adult!
I think about some of the Victorian writers who started so young, Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters in their closely huddled team-writing-&-sharing, and one girl whose name I forget who I think completed a novel between 8 and 13.
In a way, I think I'd more appreciate the real 13-year-old transition to 15 better, from some of the early version it seems like the suspense, the naïvete would be more impressive, but as her life's only literary work, I'm glad she got the opportunity to do what few writers do enough of - proof-read, revise, re-think, dote.
Anyway, a new way to look at old familiar territory.
I remember I was looking for some good books for my kids, and a 'helpful' clerk recommended the Diary. While if there had been say a handful of recommendations, I might have been more receptive, but as a single book to provide a 10-year-old, it seemed like a rather dark, depressing suggestion. Fortunately I found a great "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" collection that solved my predicament for me. Save the tough stuff for when they're older.]