an unsigned essay
, the magazine reveals that what we have come to think of as Carver's ultra-sparse style was actually the work of his editor, Gordon Lish, who slashed the troubled, alcoholic writer mercilessly throughout most of Carver's career:
In the years after the publication of "Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?," Carver wrote a series of stories dwelling on alcoholism and wrecked marriages. They were eventually published under a title recommended by Lish: "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." According to the professors William L. Stull and Maureen P. Carroll, who, with the coöperation of Tess Gallagher, have been doing scholarly work on Carver, Lish mailed Carver an edited manuscript in the spring of 1980 containing sixteen of the seventeen stories that eventually appeared in the book. Lish had cut the original manuscript by forty per cent, eliminating what he saw as false lyricism and sentiment. Then, while Carver and Gallagher were attending a writers’ conference, Lish edited the manuscript yet again, had it retyped, and sent the pages back to Syracuse, where Carver was now living and teaching.
Now Carver's widow, Tess Gallagher, is attempting to bring out original versions of the stories that appeared in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love . The New Yorker publishes Carver's draft of the title story , which he called "Beginners."