Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Glimpse into the Mind of a Genius

Scott D. Parker

It was a purchase a year in the making.

A little more than a year ago, I made a fascinating discovery online. Levenger, that most wonderful of websites for readers and writers with all sorts of pens and papers that make a writer drool and crack open their wallets, had published a most unique book. Teaming up with The Morgan Museum and Library, Levenger Press published the original 1843 manuscript of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol.

Big deal, right? Wrong. You see, the Morgan Museum has, in their possession, the actual original manuscript. In the first of its kind, Levenger published a color facsimile of each page of Dickens' original manuscript--we're talking first draft here--on the right side of every page and the corresponding text, all typed out nice and pretty on the left. You can go to this link and see what I mean. If you need a little more "behind the scenes," here's another link.

While seeing the original handwritten draft is neat, what's really fascinating is to see Dickens's corrections. You can go through pages and pages of this book and see Dickens's original ideas and the corrections he made. There's nary a page without some sort of correction, but there are pages in which the corrections amounted to little. A genius at work. It's great to see that a writer of Dickens's quality still fought over words and paragraphs, just like all of us.

I discovered this book's existence just after Christmas 2012. I don't know about you, but as much as I love the yuletide season, once December 26th rolls around, I'm pretty much ready to move on. I wasn't in the mindset to appreciate this book. So I made myself a note that only toggled up on 1 November 2013. "Buy A Christmas Carol from Levenger" the note read. Well, I listened to my past self and did so. I only got it this week, but I'm looking forward to a marvelous examination of this most treasured of Christmas stories.

If you or someone you know loves this story and the process of writing, do yourself a favor and make this book a part of your collection.

1 comment:

Lee Thompson said...

That's pretty damn brilliant! What a way to learn. Adding it to my list of books to buy! Thanks for sharing!