A World of Letters: Yale University Press, 1908-2008 - download pdf or read online

By Nicholas A. Basbanes

ISBN-10: 0300115989

ISBN-13: 9780300115987

For Yale collage Press, which celebrates its hundredth birthday in 2008, the century has been an eventful one, punctuated with out 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 during the efforts of a number of colourful authors, editors, administrators, board individuals, and others of highbrow and literary renown.

With an ear continually cocked for a fascinating story, considered 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 known as “the best authority of books approximately books,” fast convinces us that the Press’s heritage, whereas bookish, is additionally energetic and engaging. Basbanes explores the saga in the back of the purchase of Eugene O’Neill’s blockbuster play, the best-ever Yale bestseller Long Day’s trip into Night; the debate sparked in 1965 via e-book of The Vinland Map; the origins of the groundbreaking Annals of Communism sequence, initiated within the wake of the Soviet Union’s dying; and plenty of extra highlights from Press annals. Basbanes seems to be on the purposes at the back of the publisher’s notable monetary luck, and he completes A international of Letters with a glimpse on the new tasks that may propel the clicking right into a moment interesting century.

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Issued in a modest first printing of fifteen hundred copies in 1950, the book began to attract a general audience. One of the first hints that it would reach a readership that went well beyond the immediate circle of professional sociologists came in an essay by the noted literary critic Lionel Trilling for the Griffin, a book club journal, which went so far as to suggest that social science might replace fiction as a vehicle for understanding society. “It sort of staggered everyone, it kept selling and kept selling, and about the time it had sold four or five hundred thousand copies, it was licensed to Anchor Books as a trade paperback,” John Ryden told me.

Was there moonlight on the night of a particular battle of the Mexican War? And how were the tails of the soldiers’ horses cut? ” The original plan had called for the making of forty films but was scaled back to thirty-three. In the end, fifteen 26 t h e f or m at i v e dec ade s productions, each consisting of three fifteen-minute reels, were released in 1923 and 1924 bearing such titles as The Pilgrims, Peter Stuyvesant, The Gateway to the West, Alexander Hamilton, The Declaration of Independence, Yorktown, Dixie, and The Frontier Woman.

It was the “independent means,” of course, that had made everything possible; Lewis’s wife, Annie Burr Auchincloss Lewis, was a granddaughter of Oliver B. Jennings, one of the founders of the Standard Oil Company, and pleased to devote a good deal of the family fortune to fulfilling her husband’s unbridled pursuit. At his death in 1979 at eighty-three, Lewis—by that time a widower with no immediate survivors —left his magnificent home in Farmington, Connecticut, and his Walpole collection to Yale, where he had been a trustee for twenty-five years and a valued friend of the Press as well.

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


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