Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Judith Thurman Takes on Laura Ingalls Wilder

Judith Thurman, the New Yorker essayist who writes wonderful pieces about literary grand dames, has a new meaty essay on Laura Ingalls Wilder and her wild but brilliant daughter. For those who are interested in the famed pioneer family, you'll know that the extent of Rose's hand in Laura's books is always subject to debate. A taste.

Rose had proved that she could romanticize whatever material she was given. She did some minor tinkering with “Pioneer Girl,” but, once it was decided to fictionalize the memoir as a children’s story—the idea had come from an editor who rejected the memoir—she took a more aggressive role. It varied in intensity from book to book, but she dutifully typed up the manuscript pages, and, in the process, reshaped and heightened the dramatic structure. She also rewrote the prose so drastically that Laura sometimes felt usurped. “A good bit of the detail that I add to your copy is for pure sensory effect,” Rose explained in a letter.
Definitely worth a read.

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