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A Selection from a Corrected Typescript of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ novel The Yearling

Project of Merit Winner!
Author: Sarah Virginia Dumitrascu
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Clayton McCarl

Abstract:

With the recent advent of digital word processors, physical representations of editorial practices have largely disappeared while a misconception about writing as an instantaneous or single-draft process has emerged. Compounding this issue is the prominence of literary studies that emphasize the works of renowned authors as products, rather than processes. My digital textual editing project, “A Selection from a Corrected Manuscript of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’s novel The Yearling”, seeks to transcribe the manuscript of Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, The Yearling, which is marked with typed and hand-written revisions. Utilizing TEI-XML encoding, my project will create distinct viewing options for Rawlings’s manuscript that allow users to read the document by revision-type to answer the question, “To what extent does revision in writing matter?” By comparing the document with or without certain levels of Rawlings’s revisions, users will understand the significance of editing literary work while also studying the detailed practices of a nationally acknowledged author. Implementing authentic methods of digital editing to analyze the specific linguistic choices of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, my project’s interactive model will also create a new method of viewing and isolating the text, revealing certain layers or details that may be obscured in the original. As an in-depth study of Rawlings’s creative and lexical revisions, my project offers research opportunities for both scholars of rhetoric and creative writers alike to examine the extent to which writing changes through processes of revision.
Research Types: Undergraduate Research

8 Responses

  1. I think your poster is really well laid out. I agree that digital textual editing really lends itself to this type of project and I am really fascinated with the potential of “layering” the edits made by an author during the creation of their work so that we get insight into their thought process. I look forward to seeing where this project takes you.

  2. I really appreciate the clarity of the central, guiding question “To what extent does revision in writing matter?”. Congratulations!

  3. Wow!…I love this poster and your project. I appreciate the focus on writing as a process and not just a product. Often writers (myself included) struggle with writing because of the “instantaneous” or “single-draft” vision of writing you describe. Your poster highlights how much the revision process is integral to writing.

  4. It is interesting to see you use technology to highlight a practice, editing on a physical manuscript by hand, that technology has pushed into decline. You did a great job of explaining your process in the poster.

  5. Nicely done! As an English instructor, I will be sure to remember what I have learned from your project whenever I teach ‘The Yearling’.

  6. This is such an interesting project, Sarah, allowing us to think about MKR’s creative processes and how the story she aimed to tell may have unfolded in her mind. You may not have hands-on experience with a manual typewriter. Based upon my experience (alas, I date myself), it would have been challenging to type the page, remove the paper, and reinsert and roll it back in, realigning the paper vertically and horizontally so that she could perfectly strike through/x-out previously-typed text. It may be likely then that the aligned typed corrections were made before she removed the original page from the typewriter — in other words, that she typed and ruminated over her own words in the first sitting, striking out the phrases she decided to revise right then. Handwritten changes would have been made later, probably in multiple re-readings. For me, such analysis allows us to imagine historical actors as the living human beings they were. Thanks so much for sharing this project!

  7. Thank you so much for your comment, Dr. Cousins! I agree, I too think that she probably made those typed corrections while the page was in the typewriter, but some sentences made me think that she wrote them continuously and backspaced her way through to strike them out. New patterns are always popping up when I study the manuscript, so that’s one pattern I haven’t quite solidified yet, though I still think typed revisions were made before hand-written ones.

  8. Fascinating. While I’m a fan of the book, I admittedly have not thought deeply about MKR’s revision process. Thank you for bringing this out, it certainly adds another layer of appreciation for her work.

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