Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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Before it moved to The New Yorker:
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Best of Emdashes: Hit Parade
A Web Comic: The Wavy Rule


A Reader Writes: Why No Byline on the Raymond Carver Intro?

Filed under: Looked Into   Tagged: , , , , ,

So asks Emdashes reader Bill Amstutz; Dean Olsher noticed it, too. Ah, but what is “authorship,” really, anyway? As Olsher speculates:
The decision to write anonymously here seems especially freighted, less a mere throwback to the Shawn years and having something more to do with the nature of Lish’s initially invisible and essential influence.
On the other hand, maybe everyone was just anxious to get out the door for the holiday, and the crucial line was dropped. As if that would ever happen. Here’s the piece in question, and don’t forget the nifty slide show and a very illuminating demonstration of the lishian pen, not to mention the strikethrough tag (or “strike-through,” in the New Yorker stylebook), which is finally put to good use here.

I wonder if Art Winslow, who is what I think about when I think about Lish (well, also those poems that Lish failed to accept for the Quarterly when I was an undergraduate, but I bear him no ill will; they were utterly [there’s a joke for you Columbians] wrong for the magazine), will be weighing in on the latest Carver carve-up at the Huffington Post. Art?


OK, so maybe I am being a little crazy here but I went to the Gordon Lish page on Wikipedia and found this entry,

“In February 1977, Esquire published “For Rupert - with no promises” as an unsigned work of fiction: this was the first time it had published a work without identifying the author. Readers speculated that it was the work of J. D. Salinger, but it was in fact a clever parody by Lish, who is quoted as saying, “I tried to borrow Salinger’s voice and the psychological circumstances of his life, as I imagine them to be now. And I tried to use those things to elaborate on certain circumstances and events in his fiction to deepen them and add complexity.” The Wall Street Journal February 25, 1977”

So, Lish has a history of publishing unsigned work. Could it be that he wrote this piece about himself, borrowing the voice of a literature scholar?

I’m sure emdashes will get to the bottom of this…

Tess Gallagher seems like a more likely guess, but it feels collectively written to me, by the team of fiction editors, maybe. I’m intrigued!

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