Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Child's Garden of Drafts

Our manuscript collections are full of first tries. Drafts of novels, stories and poems abound. Many never got beyond the initial draft, others seem to have been born fully decked out and ready for the publisher. Here are two very different examples. The first is a short story from Frances Hodgson Burnett, an inspired writer if there ever was one. Her draft of "The Plain Miss Burnie" from 1911 almost matches the final published version in Munsey's Magazine. There was no need to leave space for changes because revision would be almost unnecessary.

On the other end of the spectrum is Robert Louis Stevenson's draft of the poem "Historical Associations" which appeared in A Child's Garden of Verses. It is written out on paper that he reused. Whole stanzas are crossed out, and the ordering changes within the draft then again in publication.

Come see the contrasting styles by asking for Codex Ms 003180 and Codex MS 002473.

For other interesting drafts see Aldous Huxley's introduction for Edna St. Vincent Millay and Mark Twain's A Tramp Abroad.

No comments :

Post a Comment