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“The Real Raymond Carver” by James Campbell

The article The Real Raymond Carver by James Campbell opens by confirming that Carver usually went through various drafts of all his work before settling on a final copy for print. Campbell claims that the joy in reading Carver’s work comes from enjoying the strange scenarios that the author presents as well as from “the absurdist dialogue which yet retains the quality of overheard conversation” (Campbell par. 2).

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He then goes ahead to prove his point by citing the story, why don’t you dance? from the collection What we talk about when we talk about love. He explains how near the end of the story, the old man, who was selling his property in the opening, ends up dancing with the young lady who came to purchase an interest in the sale while her boyfriend, who came along with her, lay inebriated on the bed they wanted to buy.

In the later paragraphs, Campbell reveals that most of Carver’s stories were extensively reviewed by his editor, Gordon Lish, who cut out most of the details (Par. 4). As the article progresses, Campbell explains why most of the latter-day editors are campaigning to get the un-Listed of Carver’s stories published. This, he explains is because Lish, at times, changed both the wording and the context of the stories. He cites the story So much water, so a closer home where it is alleged that Lish took out over 70 percent of what Carver had written for it to fit in the collection What we talked about. For instance, Campbell says that Lish completely omitted Claire’s mental history even when Carver had taken time to provide an extensive analysis of the history (par. 15).

In conclusion, it is worth noting that Campbell provided details to show how Gordon Lish contributed to the presentation of Raymond Carver’s stories as we know them. He, however, leaves it for the public to decide whether the edited Lish versions were better than the original detailed stories by Carver.

Works Cited

Campbell, James. “The real Raymond Carver: How an editor’s pencil created an author’s literary style-and how an author’s wife has undone it.” Times Online. News Corporation. 2009. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, February 3). “The Real Raymond Carver” by James Campbell. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/the-real-raymond-carver-by-james-campbell/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, February 3). “The Real Raymond Carver” by James Campbell. https://studycorgi.com/the-real-raymond-carver-by-james-campbell/

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1. StudyCorgi. "“The Real Raymond Carver” by James Campbell." February 3, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/the-real-raymond-carver-by-james-campbell/.


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StudyCorgi. "“The Real Raymond Carver” by James Campbell." February 3, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/the-real-raymond-carver-by-james-campbell/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "“The Real Raymond Carver” by James Campbell." February 3, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/the-real-raymond-carver-by-james-campbell/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) '“The Real Raymond Carver” by James Campbell'. 3 February.

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