A World of Letters: Yale University Press, 1908-2008 by Nicholas A. Basbanes

By Nicholas A. Basbanes

For Yale college Press, which celebrates its hundredth birthday in 2008, the century has been an eventful one, punctuated without few surprises. the clicking has released greater than 8,000 volumes over the years, ratings of bestsellers and award-winners between them, and those books have come to fruition throughout the efforts of a number of colourful authors, editors, administrators, board individuals, and others of highbrow and literary renown.

With an ear consistently cocked for a fascinating story, certainly one of today’s most sensible storytellers offers an anecdote-rich chronicle of the Press’s first a hundred years. Nicholas Basbanes, whom David McCullough has referred to as “the top authority of books approximately books,” speedy convinces us that the Press’s background, whereas bookish, can be vigorous and interesting. Basbanes explores the saga at the back of the purchase of Eugene O’Neill’s blockbuster play, the all time Yale bestseller Long Day’s trip into Night; the debate sparked in 1965 through ebook of The Vinland Map; the origins of the groundbreaking Annals of Communism sequence, initiated within the wake of the Soviet Union’s dying; and lots of extra highlights from Press annals. Basbanes appears on the purposes in the back of the publisher’s extraordinary monetary luck, and he completes A international of Letters with a glimpse on the new projects that would propel the click right into a moment intriguing century.

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On the production side, there was similar annoyance. Arthur E. Krows, one of Glasgow’s original associates in the venture, t h e f or m at i v e dec ade s 25 and secretary of the corporation, resigned when Stephenson demanded that he make changes in the scripts for the first two films, Columbus and Jamestown. Years later, Krows would write a series of angry reminiscences for a trade magazine about these experiences that singled out a group of unnamed “professors” and “alleged experts” whose “meddling” had been responsible for causing long delays on film sets and for production costs that had spiraled out of control.

Total sales at that time were reported at one and a half million copies, with sales today averaging ten thousand a year, a good many of them to students of American literature who are required to read the play in their classes. The Press also publishes five other O’Neill titles: Touch of the Poet, Moon for the Misbegotten, A Touch of the Poet and More Stately Mansions, The Iceman Cometh, and Collected Shorter Plays. For all of these impressive achievements—and they truly were noteworthy—George Parmly Day was an amateur publisher whose primary duty at Yale was to oversee the university’s finances, not manage the day-to-day operations of an academic press, and certainly not to formulate a scrupulously balanced publishing list year in and year out.

To emphasize that the University had assumed a greater degree of control over its publishing arm, President Seymour asked Edgar S. ” Kerr offered no insight as to just what those “somewhat debatable” activities may have been during that period, and 48 t h e f or m at i v e dec ade s little light is shed in the minutes of the Publications Committee or the Governing Board. But there are hints, at least, as to how publishing priorities were modified after December 7, 1941, and how they would continue during the war and the immediate aftermath.

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