Saturday, April 27, 2019

Caro's "Working"

In City Journal, Lance Morrow reviews historian Robert Caro's latest book. An excerpt:

We have not yet come to the actual writing. Early on, Caro discovered that he was too facile on the typewriter. So, to slow himself down and to teach himself not to write before thinking, he adopted the practice of doing his first several drafts in pencil or pen, in longhand, on long legal pads. With those drafts completed, he would switch to his Smith-Corona electric typewriter, which he still uses. He honors the writing habits of his youth, before the coming of computers, which he never uses. He puts his words on paper. He dresses in jacket and tie when he goes to his writing office, near Columbus Circle. He believes that the formality induces in him a mood to do serious work. 

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