a stage to be passed through

“As time goes by, we drift away from the great texts, the finished works on which an author’s reputation is build, towards the journals, diaries, letters, manuscripts, jottings. This is not simply because, as an author’s stature grows posthumously, the fund of published texts becomes exhausted and we have to make do not only with previously unpublished or unfinished material but, increasingly, with matter that was never intended for publication. It is also because we want to get nearer to the man or woman who wrote these books, to his or her being. We crave an increasingly intimate relationship with the author, unmediated, in so far as possible, by the contrivances of art. A curious reversal takes place. The finished works serve as prologue to the jottings; the published book becomes a stage to be passed through – a draft – en route to the definative pleasure of the notes, the fleeting impressions, the sketches, in which it had its origin.”

(Geoff Dyer, Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D. H. Lawrence, p. 111.)

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