Monday, March 21, 2011
What Zane Grey Wrote before Ripley Hitchcock Rewrote it as THE RAINBOW TRAIL
This book is introduced by Grey's son Loren Grey in his extreme old age for Jon Tuska's series of Zane Grey's books restored to the way he wrote them, before the Harper's editor Ripley Hitchcock re-wrote them. Grey specialists knew for decades about what Ripley Hitchcock had done to Grey's texts, but none of us working on Stephen Crane in the 1970s through the 1990s had any idea that the man who so effectively negotiated the expurgation of THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE to a book he could market to the heroic veterans of the Civil War and later so harshly wiped the rouge off MAGGIE had anything to do with editing Zane Grey. I believe that no one will write a convincing history of American literary realism and American literary naturalism until we know what writers tried to get into print vs. what they were allowed to get into print--all authors, not just a few selected as fit to be taught in college classes. What Hitchcock did to Zane Grey is as significant to the literary historian as what he did to Stephen Crane and Theodore Dreiser.
Interested in Zane Grey as a Fisherman and Seducer of Women, Thomas H. Pauly missed a great opportunity in his University of Illinois book to make a study of Grey in relation to censorship in the late 19th and early 20th century--and to write classic essays on "THE RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE Nobody Knows" and "THE DESERT CRUCIBLE Nobody Knows."