Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Scholars cast doubt on status of newly-discovered manuscript

The literary world has been abuzz of late with a literary find, accompanied by a whiff of suspicion:  Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, which presents a picture disturbingly different from what we all read in high school, To Kill a Mockingbird.  Its publication status has been questioned.  It is a sort of a sequel, or rather a prequel, or maybe a pre-written sequel;  the history of the manuscript, and its “discovery”, is obscure, and the lawyer at the center of the intrigue  keeps changing her story.   There’s a bodacious editor involved, who, one commenter suggested, may have done a sort of Maxwell Perkins on Lee’s manuscript:  “There’s what Lee wrote, and then there’s what got published,” the latter being a much more acceptable narrative.

Atticus Finch redivivus ?

[Update 27 July 2015] Another nay-sayer:

Fortunately, such skeptical doubts do not attach to the equally spectacular recent publication of a lost fragment of Charles Dickens:

In a literary climate so rife with hoax and dark doings, it is a pleasure to be able to present this impeccable find, saluted by all the experts.  Although the circumstances of discovery of this treasure are nothing short of scandalous, the manuscript itself is undoubtedly genuine.

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