Heavy Traffic & High Culture: New American Library as Literary Gatekeeper in the Paperback Revolution

Thomas L. Bonn, Author Southern Illinois University Press $21.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8093-1478-2
Based on New American Library's editorial correspondence, 1946-1961, this study looks at the firm's rise as a softcover publisher, its relations with authors, agents and other firms, the concerns and practices that affected the content of its books and their presentation to readers. The central figure, inevitably, is Victor Weybright (with Kurt Enoch, one of NAL's two founders), its chairman, editor-in-chief and ``principal gatekeeper,'' the wide range of whose knowledge, interests and taste was ``probably unmatched'' in U.S. publishing. Bonn, who teaches at the State University of New York, competently outlines the history of NAL, explores its canons of editorial selection, reviews its efforts to uncover fresh writing talent, its distribution and design policies and experiences, its censorship troubles, and specifically its relations with authors Erskine Caldwell, Mickey Spillane and Irving Wallace. Those engaged in the business of books are the only likely audience for this academic study. Photos. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-452-01047-5
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