EDITOR TO AUTHOR: The Letters of Maxwell E. Perkins by John Hall -- Ed. Wheelok
Kirkus Star

EDITOR TO AUTHOR: The Letters of Maxwell E. Perkins

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This should be required reading for every aspiring editor -- for most experienced editors -- and for all critics! Marwell Perkins, perhaps unconsciously, reveals himself in his letters as few -- in his position -- do. He confirms -- as in life he never did -- his right to the claim made for him, that he was by all odds one of the greatest editors this country has produced. His sensitivity, -- to the essential quality in writing, to the psychology of the writer, is evident throughout this extraordinary collection of letters, written in his capacity as senior editor at Scribner's. His penetrating acuity, his skilful analysis of weaknesses, make his criticisms consistently constructive, while never serving to destroy author confidence. With, I think, only one exception (that, Tom Wolfe's last letter, written just before his death in appreciation of what Max Perkins meant to him) these are all letters written by Perkins to writers, most of them authors on the Scribner list, with a few rejections (with no salutation provided for identification), and some answers to critics. Editorial notes simply serve to identify references, to names, to titles, and so on. Occasionally, they seem repetitive, but perhaps that would not be true if the reader were not thoroughly cognisant with the world of books, to which this is a passport. Names like Hemingway, Wolfe, Davenport, Rawlings etc. carry market appeal.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1950
Publisher: Scribner