Raymond Carver as Minimalist

Topics: Short story, Minimalism, O. Henry Award Pages: 4 (1616 words) Published: March 11, 2009
Raymond Carver’s fingerprints
Every writer has a different way of presenting his/her ideas to readers, and that’s what makes each of them so distinctive. A famous late 20th century American short story writer and poet, Raymond Carver, has often been described by critics as a minimalist. According to an Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary a minimalist is a person who uses very simple ideas in their work (“Minimalist”, 881). Raymond Carver wrote a lot of great short stories and poems. Most of his poems very edited by his Gordon Lish, and the originals where never published. Comparing Raymond Carver’s original stories and stories that were edited by Gordon Lish, his first editor, we can notice an enormous difference in style. Carver uses a lot of details that keep reader interested when Lish takes out all those details and leaves us with less then a half of what was originally written. Gordon Lish is a minimalist; he influenced his style on Carver. When Carver became confident enough about his work, he stopped taking advice from him, and Raymond Carver’s work became even more enjoyable. Despite the critics, who consider Carver a minimalist, after reading his original and edited stories and doing some extra research, I would argue that Lish was a minimalist, not Carver. Lish edited out a large portion of Carver’s work which made him appear like a minimalist. By reading Carver’s original stories, you will see a more developed and complex style that you will not find in the edited versions. If we compare Raymond Carver’s original story “Beginners” and the version “What We Talk About When We Walk About Love” edited by Gordon Lish, we face two nearly different stories. We can clearly see how much information Lish has cut out from the original version; he crossed out a lot of important details in the story and took out that unique persona of each character that Carver has created for a reason, to foreshadow the upcoming events. Lish made the story incredibly different;...
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