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Monday, April 18, 2011

Maybe RAW's papers could be assembled, too?

A book review in Sunday's Cleveland Plain Dealer describes the process of putting together David Foster Wallace's new novel, The Pale King, which was uncompleted upon Wallace's death:

According to Wallace's longtime editor, Michael Pietsch, there were "hard drives, file folders, three-ring binders, spiral-bound notebooks . . . printed chapters, sheaves of handwritten pages, and more." Pietsch flew to California at the invitation of Wallace's wife, Karen Black, and his agent, Bonnie Nadel, and returned to New York with "a green duffel bag and two Trader Joe's bags heavy with manuscripts."

From this Pietsch assembled, as he explains in his loving introduction, what is being published as "The Pale King: An Unfinished Novel." Pietsch's editing has preserved the sense of a manuscript box, lots of brilliant snippets leaping out to surprise you, but he has also shaped the work sufficiently to suggest the outlines of an ambitious, provocative and profound novel.

Sure would be nice to see this kind of effort put into preserving Robert Anton Wilson's literary legacy. Just sayin'.

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