The Lousy Racket: Hemingway, Scribners, and the Business of Literature

Robert W. Trogdon, Author . Kent State Univ. $39.95 (307p) ISBN 978-0-87338-904-4

It's not easy to write something fresh about the oft-researched and dissected works and life of Ernest Hemingway. But thanks to an awful lot of investigation into the unpublished materials from the Charles Scribner's Sons Archive at Princeton University and the Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Library, Trogdon, a Hemingway scholar and professor at Kent State University, sheds some new light on some old works. Based primarily on letters written by Hemingway and his Scribner's editor, Maxwell Perkins, this book casts a discerning eye on both Hemingway's writing process as well as the business of book publishing from the perspectives of the author and the publisher. After Maxwell brought Hemingway to Scribner's at the urging of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the two fell into a solid working relationship. As Hemingway developed an idea, Maxwell used praise and deadlines to push the process along. Though Maxwell gave snippets of advice on character development and plot points, Trogdon's research shows that Maxwell did little editing when it came to Hemingway's prose, as most of their correspondence shows that the editor's main concerns were changing " 'objectionable words'" and veiled references to real people to protect his author from suppression and libel. Though the book is dense with quotations, Trogdon writes straightforward, unaffected prose. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/26/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 320 pages - 978-1-63101-071-2
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-63101-070-5
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