Famous Book Editors

Well-known book editors

A list of famous book editors, with photos, biographies and other information when available. Which are the best book editors in the world? I would like to say a few words today about a writer's natural enemy: the editors. What famous or memorable books have you worked on? When Joe is famous and Jane is not, Jane's name can be in smaller font.

Legends in book editing: Perkins Maxwell, Gordon Lish, Robert Gottlieb

Editorialist Robert Gottlieb, who published the works of Joseph Heller, John Le Carré, John Cheever and Toni Morrison (who was herself a literature journalist before she began her novel writing careers at the tender ages of 39), said of the publication of the often cryptic mission "simply to use the good readers' sentiments.

" At the same Paris Review interviewee, he warns against the "glorification of the editors" and says that "the publisher's relation to a book should be an insvisible one. "While the work of an author is often only so unseen by the general press, over the years there have been a number of book editors who have been accused of radical improvement or redesign of the work of well-known writers.

Whilst the value of a very pro-active editorial effort can be discussed, it is difficult to believe that anyone who has published a series of great books does not deserve recognition for their achievements, even if, like Gottlieb, they do. Probably the most famous US journalist of the last hundred years (except for Jackie Kennedy, who actually became an independent journalist after he left the White House) was Maxwell Perkins.

The serious beginning of Perkins' carreer came after he contracted F. Scott Fitzgerald with Scribner and published his celebrated first novel This Side of Paradise (1920). During his entire work with Fitzgerald (he made notorious editorials for The Great Gatsby (1925), which many consider decisive for his lasting success) and through him saw Ernest Hemingway, whose works he also made famous in the face of those who were against Hemingway's use of secularity, and defended.

If his work with these two famous authors of the prodigal generation did not sufficiently consolidate his influence on the twentieth generation's writings, he also persuaded Thomas Wolfe to edit 90,000 words from the definitive design by Look Homeward, Angel (1929) in parallel with his work with Erskine Caldwell, Alan Paton and James Jones.

Obviously, not everyone is prepared to give the editors the advantage of question. The famous Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov named the editors "pompous avedbrutes", without question because many editors had pressed him to insert a Koma before "avuncular". Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary (1857) changes Emma Bovary's view throughout the book without prior caution.

" An erroneous journalist may have been attempting to solve these "problems," as Thomas Wentworth Higginson did in removing most of Emily Dickinson's sharp punch while serving as her writer's enforcer. A slightly less extremist example of the Higginson phenomena is the history of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations (1861).

Thickens and his contemporaries Edward Bulwer-Lytton (who was extremely successful in his own timings and coined the sentence "The feather is more powerful than the sword" and was the first to use the now stereotypical opening "It was a murky and turbulent night") exchanged famous editorials about each other's work. Although it is difficult to gauge the influence Dickens had on Lytton's work, Lytton's work on Dickens gives us at least one famous example of misleading newsroom counsel.

Insisting that the initial ending of Great Expectations was too fierce, Lytton persuaded Dickens to create a new one leaving open the option of Pip and Estella getting married as a possible, triggering an esthetic discussion about the comparative advantages of each end that continued over the ages.

There are, of course, cases where aggresive and extremist editors have altered the authors' works for the better. He seems to have had some mistaken emotions about Lish's effect, sometimes he shows thankfulness and sometimes he seems to suggest that Lish has distorted the tales in some way. Regarding the subject of the perfect effect of an editorship it can be helpful to look at the relation between David Foster Wallace and his editors Michael Pietsch.

He worked intimately with the deceased writer on his great work Infinite Jest, remained in intimate touch with him and gave him extensive suggestions and feedbacks throughout the work. Although it is hard to estimate the effect of Pietsch's editorials, the results were an indisputable one. After David Foster Wallace's poignant 2008 murder, Pietsch's relation to Wallace was a kind of writer's enforcer to save one last novel from the bewilderment of Wallace's sketches and notations.

as one of this year's Pulitzer Prize finalist (the highest award the Pulitzer Prize Commission has given this year after, as you know, refusing to pick an effective winner). Undoubtedly, the popularity of the novel tells us about the ability of good editors to realize an author's visions in their best (and sometimes only) possible forms.

An author and book freak, Brian makes good use of his English diploma to turn words into spells.

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