Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Correction for NYRSF Chan Davis Essay-Review

Because of the political nature of much of Dan Davis's writing, I took pains over the wording of my essay-review about It Walks in Beauty: Selected Prose of Chandler Davis, edited by Josh Lukin. My essay has just appeared in The New York Review of Science Fiction (25:9, whole number 297, May 2013, pp. 1, 4-6) —– and unfortunately near the beginning it contains a sentence that makes me sound a touch out of touch.

While I favor there being a bit of nonsense in my writing I would rather put it there myself, accidentally or otherwise.

A well-meaning editorial change has created this sentence: "After the Red Scare, Davis cut short his career at University of Michigan, opting to leave the United States and reestablish himself in Canada."

What I wrote is this: "Davis, after the Red Scare cut short his career at University of Michigan, opted to leave the United States and reestablish himself in Canada."

I am politically unsavvy in many ways —— but not in such a way that I think Chan Davis enjoyed any choice about his Michigan career ending. Fortunately, later in the essay I mention that Davis received summons and jail time: so persevering readers may think I am not as much a cluckbrain as I appear to be, at first ... or perhaps more of one.

Perhaps I chose too positive a word in "opted." Resuming his academic career in the U.S. had closed, as an option. Unpleasant circumstances and the purging of the liberal element from U.S. higher education forced him to "opt."

Would Davis have remained bitter about the University of Michigan's failure to apologize for its actions, had it indeed been the case that "Davis cut short his (own) career" ... ?

Cheers ...

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