Monday, April 10, 2017

the last book I ever read (Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, excerpt ten)

from Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin:

As Ellison’s work on Invisible Man progressed, he continued to lean on both Hyman and Jackson for guidance. On a visit to Vermont a few years earlier, he and Hyman had jointly written an outline of the novel, then called The Invisible Man. That outline helped Ellison, under contract with the small firm Reynal and Hitchcock, get a more lucrative deal with Random House. In April 1951, Ellison wrote to his friend Albert Murray, a younger student at Tuskegee who would become a well-known literary and music critic, that he had “finished most of [Invisible Man] at Hyman’s place in Westport.” That time it was Jackson, who was looking over her page proofs for Hangsaman, who proved most helpful. “I had been worrying my ass off over transitions; really giving them more importance than was necessary, working out complicated schemes for giving them extension and so on,” Ellison wrote. “Then I read [Shirley’s] page proofs and saw how simply she was managing her transitions and how they really didn’t bother me despite their ‘and-so-and-then-and-therefore’—and then, man, I was on.”

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