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Monday, March 17, 2008

The First Chronicles Manuscript


Interesting story here, via Positively Bob Dylan. Hans Marius Stormoen was commissioned to translate Dylan’s Chronicles: Volume One into Norwegian, and was given what appears (from the page reproduced to your left) to be an author's proof copy of the manuscript for the job.

Prior to the book's publication, Dylan delivered a new - edited - version of the manuscript, which is the version that was eventually published. Stormoen's widow, Zainab McCoy, who is now offering the original manuscript for sale, notes:

"...in the first manuscript you can hear Dylan’s voice, his casual unedited way of speaking and writing. It even includes Bob’s personal note to the editor 'type written on the PC'".
The sample page, marked as "167" in the author's proof, parallels pages 165-166 in the published U.S. hardcover edition of Chronicles with some significant changes. In the published version, Dylan simply refers to a "heated presidential race underway and you couldn't avoid hearing about it" while writing about the genesis of his song Political World. In the original manuscript, Dylan writes:
"...I'd seen that the Governor of Massachusetts was running for President and his advisors had selected a woman running mate for him to ensure his defeat. Some advisors! I reasoned that this was a man who didn't like power to begin with and had agreed to run only if he could lose and something about this struck me funny..."
Outside of making you wonder what Dylan thinks of the current presidential race, I'd speculate that a fact checker - maybe from Simon and Schuster, maybe from Dylan's team - went through the proof copy and recommended some edits, including deleting Dylan's erroneous claim that a "Governor of Massachusetts'" had a female running mate selected to "ensure his defeat." Dylan seems to have conflated the 1984 elections - when Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro were running mates - with the elections of 1988, which featured Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis and Texan Lloyd Bentsen as the Democratic candidates.

I'd love to get my hands on a copy of that original manuscript, but being a poor but honest writer, that's unlikely. Maybe some Dylan collector will purchase it and make it available to researchers.

1 comment:

teree said...

i would have liked the original to be sent back to dylan himself..after all..it is his. Its an uncomfortable feeling to know people out there are so willing to sell their souls (or in this case..someone elses).. for a buck. I love the show. Thank you.