Write Cut Rewrite: The Cutting Room Floor of Modern Literature

write cut rewrite book cover

Write, Cut, Rewrite is an exhibition dedicated to the creative importance of editing in literature, often referred to as ‘killing your darlings’.

Curated by Dirk Van Hulle, Professor of Bibliography and Modern Book History at the University of Oxford, and Mark Nixon, Professor of Modern Literature and Beckett Studies at the University of Reading, the exhibition offers a peek behind the scenes into the writers’ workshops, drawing upon the Bodleian Libraries’ unparalleled collection of modern manuscripts from the 18th century to today. It features abandoned works, such as Jane Austen’s The Watsons, and cases of censorship, such as Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. It also touches on the revisions and rewritings of famous books, offering a unique chance to look over the shoulder of literary greats at the moment of creation.

The exhibition runs until 5 January 2025 at the Treasury, Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries. Free admission; no ticket required. Visit the Bodleian Libraries website to find out more: https://visit.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/cut

The exhibition is accompanied by a book: Write Cut Rewrite: The Cutting Room Floor of Modern Literature. With insights into the drafting techniques of writers as varied as Jane Austen, Christina Rossetti, Raymond Chandler, Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka, John le Carré, Alan Bennett, Barbara Pym, Philip Pullman and Alice Oswald, this is a fascinating unveiling of the mysteries of writing, cutting, rewriting and publishing exceptional creative works.

Find out more about the book on the publisher's website.