The Work of Revision

Hannah Sullivan
Published in 2013
by Harvard University Press

In The Work of Revision, Hannah Sullivan argues that the history of revision is a relatively new trend inherited from the avant-garde experiments of the modernists, a badge of honor for writers anxious to justify the difficulty of their work. Dating back to how Alexandrian editors surveyed Homer’s works, Sullivan considers the virtues of redrafting and examines changes made in manuscripts and proofs by T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and others, illustrating how the impulse to keep rewriting can sometimes go too far. Both craft writing manual and historical analysis, this book will shed light on practices writers have come to understand as commonplace, sharpening the praxis of prose writers and poets alike.