Bookplanet: Bellow the great rewriter
One of Bellow's editors writes a lovely piece about how he worked. 'The revisions began in earnest when the book was in proof. He told me he couldn't take his writing seriously when it was still a manuscript, that it was only an "undergraduate effort" until typeset. We talked about the moral power of the justified right margin. He'd beef up passages he found slack, alter effects that had charmed him in manuscript and now put him off, cross out whole passages and add new paragraphs. Polishing, polishing. Grammar, syntax, punctuation. I complained about some repetitions, and he stopped in his tracks, amazed at my dimwitted slowness. "Kiddo, this book is constructed like the Chicken Little story, haven't you seen that yet? Of course there are repeats. Da capo." Then he intensified the repetitions.' Full article here.