Alcoholism In Raymond Carver's Writing

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Many famous authors have struggled with alcohol and drug abuse, from the most notable, to those unheard of. The tortured artist complex falls under this category, and that is what Raymond Carver is. The influence of alcoholism in Raymond Carver’s writing is clear and comparable. Analysis of Carver’s life, his sober writing, and writings under the influence, yields a clear contrast in the two writing styles. Among famous authors who struggled with alcoholism, there was Edgar Allan Poe, Truman Capote, and Jack Kerouac, who all became famous in their own right, however have the underlying themes of cynicism, gloom, and often grief. This could be credited to the effect of alcohol on their personal outlooks, as well as Raymond Carver’s.
Carver’s
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Carver graduated from Yakima High School and less than a year later married his first wife, whom he would have two children with(Encyclopedia Britannica). For this time Carver worked side by side with his father at a local sawmill. Carver’s interest in writing truly began after attending a creative writing course at Chico State College. Although some of his work was featured in magazines, he didn’t make a distinct impression on the public until 1967 with his short story “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?”. Despite this success he did not start writing full time until 1970 when he was fired from Science Research Associates for ‘inappropriate’ writing style(Famous…show more content…
Carver’s long time editor, Gordon Lish, had severely altered many of Carver’s early pieces. It is shown the Lish not only changed characters names and altered endings, he also cut over 75% of two of Carver’s short stories(Encyclopedia Britannica). As Carver is a beloved writer of the 20th century this was a shocking reveal, however looking at his original, unedited pieces the terseness and his view towards the dismal life of someone in the middle class remains unchanged. There is however a variation of opinion regarding the significant changes, on one hand, Stephen King expresses the changes as “a total rewrite … a cheat” yet Giles Harvey states “[this] has not done Carver any favours. Rather, it has inadvertently pointed up the editorial genius of Gordon Lish.”(Lorentzen). Despite these comments Carver has remained popular to many. In an interview Lish states “Had I not revised Carver, would he be paid the attention given him? Baloney!”(Lorentzen) this statement is extremely bold and unfortunately it can never be deemed true or not. After being asked that exact question Lish continued on to say “I was there before there was a record ... I can’t believe that what I had in my hands from Ray would have made its way into the hearts of those who have apparently been so undone by the work.” obviously a very bold statement to make and comes across as very egotistical.
Raymond Carver
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