Doug Reside writes an informative blog about the digital legacy of the author of Rent.
Like paper palimpsest drafts in which a revision is written over an early text (which is itself still visible), Jonathan Larson’s Microsoft Word files provide scholars and artists a fascinating glimpse into his creative process. For textual scholars practicing genetic criticism and lyricists trying to improve their craft by studying the practices of a master, this kind of information can be invaluable. However, it is information that is in grave danger of being lost unless it is preserved quickly. In part because of their untimely deaths, Jonathan Larson and Howard Ashman’s collections were relatively easy to preserve because only a couple of decades had passed since they were created. If today’s artists and writers want to preserve their digital work in a similar way, it is important that they begin to develop a plan now. —“No Day But Today”: A look at Jonathan Larson’s Word Files | The New York Public Library.