Marianne Moore’s Ghost Revisions Poems (1921), Observations (1924, 1925), and Selected Poems (1935)

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Lauren Frey


The Rosenbach Museum and Library contains The Marianne Moore Library (MML), the largest collection of Marianne Moore’s personal objects and literary papers. Among these objects and papers are the poet’s personal copies of each of her published books. One of the first observations to be made about Moore’s revising method is her habit of revising on copies of her books from her first publication, Poems (1921), through her final publication, Complete Poems (1967), often neatly writing in an updated word or phrase in small cursive handwriting. Indeed, her lifelong habit of using published texts as sites of revision began with Poems (1921) not long after it was published. To date, I have not found a study that addresses these revisions made upon her own copies of her books, especially Poems (1921) and both editions of Observations (1924 and 1925). In order to better understand Moore’s revision process in her early years before becoming editor of The Dial, their curious presence becomes a prerequisite for reading and positing a chronology to the revisions on her manuscripts and typed scripts of her other early poetry. This essay intends to explore the revisions that Moore made on her two copies of Poems (1921) and on Observations (1924).




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Textual Studies: Century by Century