Saturday, September 6, 2008

Robert Giroux - R.I.P

I pause to note the passing of a giant in the field of literature -- editor and publisher, Robert Giroux. The list of authors provided in the New York Times obituary to which I have linked is a list of authors all of whom I have read over the years, and all of whom I can heartily recommend.

Strangely enough, only yesterday morning I came across an entry in Jack Kerouac's Buddhist notebooks, collected as Some of the Dharma, that Knopf had just rejected On the Road (referred to here by Kerouac's working title The Beat Generation) :

JAN.11'55---I just found out that BEAT GENERATION was rejected by Knopf. As to writing stories that the publishers approve of, it would no longer be free writing. I write the Dharma freely and unsystematically for the purpose of teaching others and keeping myself mindful of the teaching.

Giroux also rejected On the Road, while working at Harcourt, Brace; one that got away.

But, please -- read the Times obit and note the authors listed whose careers Giroux facilitated and whose books Giroux promoted. Take a look at any of them with whom you're not familiar; there's not a clunker on the list.