We Really Meant To Ignore This, Or We Have No Faith In Your So-Called Scholars

December 2nd, 2004 · No Comments
by Booksquare

As all good authors know, those first few books are ripe with growing pains. You don’t leap into the game fully formed. What seems so profound, so beautifully written, often comes off as painful upon later reading. There’s a reason first books go under the bed, hide in closets, and generally shun the light of day.

Truman Capote realized this. He chose not to finish a book (and, as we all know, having a draft or so is not finished; the book is done when the author says it’s done…or deadline time arrives). We understand the need for history and such, but does the world really need to know that early Capote was eclipsed by later Capote? Do we need to study something he felt was not representative of what he wanted:

In 1953 he wrote: “As for Summer Crossing I tore it up long ago – anyway it was never finished.”

But the documents on sale this week constitute a complete first draft [booksquare: it all depends on how define first draft, doesn’t it?], according to Sotheby’s. Whether Summer Crossing will ever be published is a matter for his literary executor, Alan Schwartz.

Clarke said that the wishes of the author, who died in 1984, should be observed. “This may not be something that should be published, because Truman himself did not feel it was worth publishing,” he told AP. “But it would still be of interest to writers and scholars.”

File Under: Square Pegs