Lydia Davis and Raymond Carver.

I suspect that Lydia Davis would come down on the side of the editor in the whole fat-Carver/skinny-Carver brouhaha. Might be a stretch on my part to call her anti-revisionist, but maybe not; my suspicion is based on her holding firm to the boring title:

Ways was written in the summer of 1966, when I was nineteen, for a fiction workshop led by Grace Paley during a summer session at Columbia University. (Fiction workshops were much less common in those days, and this was the only one I ever enrolled in.) I reproduce it here more or less as it was written: I have corrected a few spelling mistakes (e.g. “boothes,” “tableclothes,” and some of the Spanish words); changed the spelling of Louis (English or French) to Luis (Spanish); and reduced the capacity of the opera house from 12,000 to 3,000. If it were my choice now, I would not title the story Ways, which is vague and unexciting.

Ways appears in the inaugural issue of The International Literary QuarterlyI haven’t read anything there yet, but expect it will be clear and thrilling.  As for the brouhaha, I can’t really come to a cogent argument one way or the other; exhaustion makes me wishy-washy.  My first inclination, though, is that they should just publish the fat-Carver version – what harm can it do?  It’s not as though English professors will be spilling into the streets, rending their blazers. 


One Reply to “Lydia Davis and Raymond Carver.”

  1. I would also like to read what Carver wrote. Like his ending to some of the stories instead of the ones that Lish felt were better.

    Also, Carver asked Lish not to publish them after he butchered, sorry, edited them.

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