Academic journal article Thomas Wolfe Review

Reverting to Redbook, More or Less

Academic journal article Thomas Wolfe Review

Reverting to Redbook, More or Less

Article excerpt

Long before the definitive version of The Lost Boy was edited carefully by Jim Clark and published by UNC Press in 1992, the novella had been more extensively edited for inclusion in The Hills Beyond. Now, a brief excerpt from the first published version of the story (which had appeared in the November 1937 issue of Redbook) has been included in A Route 66 Companion (University of Texas Press, 2012), and it includes some silent rearranging and rewriting of Wolfe's text.

The excerpt begins thus: "It's all so long ago, as if it happened in another world. And then it all comes back--the boardinghouse, St. Louis and the Fair--as if it happened yesterday ..." (42; ellipsis in orig.). This is an amalgamation constructed by editor David King Dunaway from three sentences split across two paragraphs within the story section narrated by the sister. The first part ("It's all so long ago, as if it happened in another world. And then it all comes back") contains the first eighteen words of paragraph 3 on page 86 in Redbook. The next portion ("--the boarding-house, St. Louis and the Fair") is from paragraph 2 on that page. To this--after silently adding the second em dash--Dunaway attached the concluding words of the second sentence of paragraph 3.

Following this Frankenstein passage, the editor went back about a dozen paragraphs to page 84 of the magazine to pick up the sister's reminiscence at that point (silently omitting the original first word of the sentence). The rest of the 750-word excerpt contains eighteen more changes. Most involve the omission or insertion of punctuation, but six times, Wolfe's words have been altered--without explanation and for no apparent reason.

In his italicized introduction to the excerpt, Dunaway does not mention any textual alterations. …

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