Monday, March 21, 2011

A Missed Opportunity to Treat Zane Grey Seriously as a Writer Subjected to Expurgations by the Man who Truncated THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE

I bought this book 28 November 2006 expecting great things from it, for from Jon Tuska I had learned that Ripley Hitchcock, the expurgator of Stephen Crane, had taken equally arrogant liberties with the texts of Zane Grey. Now, Hitchcock made the Grey texts saleable to a mass audience, as he did the text of THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, but anyone who wants to know what Stephen Crane wrote cannot go to the Appleton editions edited by Hitchcock and anyone who wants to know what Zane Grey wrote cannot go to the Harper editions edited by the same Hitchcock.

In a comment below I will quote some of what I wrote to Jon Tuska after reading Pauly.
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1 comment:

  1. On 18 May 2007 I wrote to Tuska:
    I've been extremely busy for an old man (a co-authored book just out from LSU Press, a book of mine, MELVILLE: THE MAKING OF THE POET,coming out from Northwestern this Fall), but on a trip East I finally got to skim thru Pauly's book and just now I am reading SHOWER OF GOLD. I was appalled at what Tom said about Hitchcock. English professors trained as New Critics just can't believe that a publishing house editor could make a writer accept an expurgated and otherwise altered text and that the changes matter. What Tom said about THE RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE and THE DESERT CRUCIBLE will prevent anyone else from treating the topic of Hitchcock and Grey seriously, except possibly in an article. The classic treatment ought to have been in his book.
    As for SHOWER OF GOLD, I am reading it with wonder and joy. Having loved Zane Grey since 1947, having co-authored a Zane Grey novel in 1948, having lived to have my FLAWED TEXTS AND VERBAL ICONS trashed by New Critics because, among other sins, I described Ripley Hitchcock's tyranny over young Crane, I feel as if I am completing a circle by holding a book by Zane Grey that I have never read and knowing that I am quoted in the Foreword. It is a mystical experience that Zane Grey would have savored, although he might have moved 200 miles inland to get the full effect of it.
    What has followed after I spotted the Restored Edition of THE RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE in the Atascadero library has been immensely satisfying to me. Thank you, Jon.