Nicholas A. Basbanes's A World of Letters: Yale University Press, 1908-2008 PDF

By Nicholas A. Basbanes

ISBN-10: 0300115989

ISBN-13: 9780300115987

For Yale collage Press, which celebrates its hundredth birthday in 2008, the century has been an eventful one, punctuated with out few surprises. the clicking has released greater than 8,000 volumes over the years, rankings of bestsellers and award-winners between them, and those books have come to fruition throughout the efforts of a number of colourful authors, editors, administrators, board individuals, and others of highbrow and literary renown.

With an ear continually cocked for an enticing story, one in every of today’s top storytellers provides an anecdote-rich chronicle of the Press’s first a hundred years. Nicholas Basbanes, whom David McCullough has referred to as “the prime authority of books approximately books,” fast convinces us that the Press’s historical past, whereas bookish, is additionally full of life and interesting. Basbanes explores the saga in the back of the purchase of Eugene O’Neill’s blockbuster play, the best-ever Yale bestseller Long Day’s trip into Night; the talk sparked in 1965 by means of ebook of The Vinland Map; the origins of the groundbreaking Annals of Communism sequence, initiated within the wake of the Soviet Union’s death; and plenty of extra highlights from Press annals. Basbanes seems to be on the purposes in the back of the publisher’s amazing monetary good fortune, and he completes A global of Letters with a glimpse on the new projects that may propel the clicking right into a moment interesting century.

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Jennings, one of the founders of the Standard Oil Company, and pleased to devote a good deal of the family fortune to fulfilling her husband’s unbridled pursuit. At his death in 1979 at eighty-three, Lewis—by that time a widower with no immediate survivors —left his magnificent home in Farmington, Connecticut, and his Walpole collection to Yale, where he had been a trustee for twenty-five years and a valued friend of the Press as well. Lewis also provided sufficient funds to complete The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, which issued its final installment three years later.

One of the first hints that it would reach a readership that went well beyond the immediate circle of professional sociologists came in an essay by the noted literary critic Lionel Trilling for the Griffin, a book club journal, which went so far as to suggest that social science might replace fiction as a vehicle for understanding society. “It sort of staggered everyone, it kept selling and kept selling, and about the time it had sold four or five hundred thousand copies, it was licensed to Anchor Books as a trade paperback,” John Ryden told me.

This delicate circumstance was implied, however cursorily, by Chester Kerr, Yale Class of 1936, secretary of the Governing Board from 1949 to 1959 and director from 1959 to 1979, in an informal reminiscence he wrote for a 1983 pamphlet to mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Press’s founding. “When some of his activities became somewhat debatable during the exigencies of World War II,” Kerr wrote of Day, “it fell to President Charles Seymour, ’08, to suggest to Mr. Day that perhaps he should surrender the executive role of director and content himself with the chairmanship of the board.

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A World of Letters: Yale University Press, 1908-2008 by Nicholas A. Basbanes

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