I know. You thought that me posting omitted portions of the biography was over months ago. So did I. Thing is, the copyeditor for Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How An Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature (coming September 2012) was also charged with getting the manuscript shorter still. And so… there are further cuts. On the mistaken assumption that two or three people might find these interesting, I’ll share a few. Today’s concern the derivation of surnames — Krauss and Leisk (Crockett Johnson‘s real name was David Johnson Leisk). I find this sort of information interesting, but there are other proposed cuts that I find even more worthy of keeping. So, these items (formerly of Chapters 1 and 2, respectively) are cut.
Derived from the German kraus, Ruth’s surname means “curly” — and her hair was curly. Though it probably originates in Bohemia, Krauss and its variants also appear in neighboring countries Austria and Germany.
The name Leask may derive from the Norse or Danish word for “a stirring fellow,” or it may be a diminutive of lisse, Anglo-Saxon for “happy.” Johnson’s ancestors spell the name Leask until the latter half of the nineteenth century, when they also spell it Leisk. These two spellings may explain the name’s variant pronunciations — “Lihsk” or “Leesk.” Johnson pronounced it “Lihsk.”
Are there more cuts to share? you ask. (Or, possibly, you don’t ask.) Yes. Yes, there are. Plus there’s lots more on the bio, stored away in various corners of this blog. Posts tagged Crockett Johnson or Ruth Krauss or Biography are probably going to lead you to something connected to the biography. OK, a few won’t But most will. Anyway. Here are some related posts:
- Appendix A: American Committee for Spanish Freedom (July 2011). I cut all four appendices. This is the first one.
- Appendix B: We Are for Wallace (July 2011). And this is the second one.
- Appendix C: Assembly of Men and Women in the Arts Concerned with Vietnam (Sept. 2011). The third one.
- Appendix D: End Your Silence (Sept 2011). The fourth one.
- Preview: biography of Johnson and Krauss. First sentence and last sentence (Sept. 2011).
- Invent Title for My Book, Win Signed Copy of the Book (Aug. 2011). Editor dislikes title. I “crowdsource” it to readers, and get lots of suggestions. Have submitted leading contenders to editor. No decision as yet on final title.
- Crockett Johnson and the Purple Crayon: A Life in Art (Aug. 2011). My 2004 Comic Art article on the life of Crockett Johnson. Now available for free as either pdf or a series of jpgs.
- Going Back to High School — 90 Years Back (Aug. 2011). A glimpse into Crockett Johnson’s high school days.
- He Was a Teenage Harold: Crockett Johnson’s High School Cartoons (Aug. 2010). Johnson’s earliest work, published under his given name of David Johnson Leisk.
- The Text’s in the Mail (June 2011): in which I send the final version of the manuscript to my editor.
- News, Thanks, and Apologies (May 2011): in which I apologize for the post below, and indicate my current plan of action.
- Update, Featuring First 5 Paragraphs of the Book! (May 2011): ill-advised post, in which I express irritation and conflicting signals from editor. I shouldn’t have posted this.
- On a First-Name Basis with People I’ve Never Met (Jan. 2011): early version of bit I added to intro.
- biography outtakes, part 8 (June 2011): now featuring despair!
- biography outtakes, part 7 (June 2011): killing my darlings. Some bits that I like but that do not need to be retained… and thus have been cut!
- biography outtakes, part 6 (May 2011): some of the notes removed from this current round of editing.
- biography outtakes, part 5 (Dec. 2010): this and those below are from the round of edits I did in the fall. In that round of editing, I removed 10,000 words.
- biography outtakes, part 4 (Nov. 2010).
- biography outtakes, part 3 (Nov. 2010).
- biography outtakes, part 2 (Nov. 2010).
- biography outtakes, part 1 (Nov. 2010).