Monday, June 26, 2006

"I Went Crazy at the End!" Or, A Kindred Spirit from Another Era

This morning I got an emailed link to Christopher Phelps' article on the "new" edition of the Jungle put out by See Sharp Press in 2003. This edition has been sold as the "unexpurgated," origial, uncensored version of the book. Phelps, who's been doing work on Upton Sinclair (which means reading some unbearably long-winded socialist potboilers), has definitively debunked this new publisher's rather sensational story of censorship.
In the process, he includes a quote from Sinclair to which I can - well - "relate" as the kids say.
After turning out hundreds of pages of fiction week after week in 1904 and 1905, Sinclair was exhausted. He disliked the end result, a work he considered long-winded and rambling. “I went crazy at the end,” he wrote in a personal letter in 1930 to a reader curious as to why many passages had been excised, “... and tried to put in everything I knew about the Socialist movement. I remember that Warren came to see me at my farm near Princeton, and I read him the concluding chapters, and he went to sleep. So I guess that is why I left them out of the book!"

I haven't turned out pages and pages of fiction (if only!), but certainly, pages and pages of history and commentary, particularly between 1998 and 2000, when I was writing my dissertation. I feel for Sinclair. To have one's "rough draft" published after all that painstaking work to revise it had been done would just hurt too much. Let's hope the socialists are right and that there is no after-life from which the authors can look down and pass judgement on their dear readers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cockburn on Hitchens at Counterpunch

"The recent memorial for long-term New York Review co-editor Barbara Epstein, sadly felled by cancer on June 15, was disfigured by an unseemly outbursts from Christopher Hitchens....

As Hitchens retreated, someone remarked to him, "So your glorious war has turned out to be a total disaster, hasn't it?"

"It is glorious," the sodden scrivener blared, "and it IS my war because it needed Paul Wolfowitz and myself to go and convince the President to go to war."

As mourners digested this megalomanic outburst, Hitchens continued, "And we are going to kill every Al Qaida terrist and Baathist in the country and that's a good thing. They need to be killed and we will kill them.""