More an unabridged catalogue than a chronicle of the small presses of ""Lost-Generation"" Montparnasse -- a host of...


PUBLISHED IN PARIS: American and British Writers, Printers, and Publishers in Paris, 1920-1939

More an unabridged catalogue than a chronicle of the small presses of ""Lost-Generation"" Montparnasse -- a host of expatriate ""poets and painters and pederasts and lesbians and divorcees and Christ knows who"" (a description of a luncheon given for Hart Crane by the publisher/poet/Ivy League-educated nephew of J.P. Morgan, Harry Crosby who committed double suicide with his adulterous lover back in the States just after the Harvard-Yale game. . .). Ford, professor of English at Trenton State, covers: Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare and Company (Ulysses, of course); Robert McAlmon's Contact Editions (besides his own dubious works, McAlmon published notable ones by Hemingway, Williams, Stein, H.D., Barnes, West, Pound, Ford Madox Ford, as well as Lady Chatterley's Lover and Anais Nin's early study of Lawrence). Crosby's Black Sun Press won pieces from Lawrence, Joyce, Hemingway by much begging and cajoling. Gertrude Stein found it necessary to bring out her own ""ungrammatical"" writings under the Plain Editions imprint. Nancy Cunard's Hours Press is remembered for that poetry prize awarded to the 24-year-old Samuel Beckett. Jack Kahane's Obelisk Press almost went under with H.C.E. but found The Well of Loneliness, My Life and Loves, Tropic of Cancer, The Black Book more profitable, accessible -- and spicy. The focus is mostly on the upper-class types who engaged in literary diddling which -- serious or not -- was useful for abstruse, young-unknown-penniless and above all, erotic authors. Ford's critical perspective is conspicuously absent -- so many names, names, names prove a great leveller of genius, minor talent, mediocrity and hanger-on. No more imaginative or original than Wickes' American in Paris (1969), only drifting further into marginalia.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1974


Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1974