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Among the Literati

Lewis Browne, an active and somewhat agile gentleman with a pen, writes from his home at Santa Monica to clear up the rumor concerning an unpublished book entitled “For Christ’s Sake”, which this column remarked was rejected by Macmillan because of the title. He says, “Is there really such a story going the rounds of the book circles? For there is only a shadow of truth in it. Actually the book which seems to be referred to was not a work on racial discrimination but a novel. It’s title was ‘All Things Are Possible.’ Macmillan’s did not refuse to publish it. They urged me, after it had already started toward the printer, to revise certain portions which were too Dostoievskily ‘morbid.’ But by then I was already engrossed in my history of Christianity, the working title of which was none other than ‘For Christ’s Sake’, though I later, without consulting my publisher, changed it to ‘Since Calvary.’ I never was able to get interested in the novel and it still remains in its original state. Once I’ve finished a book I’m done with it. However, I am now writing a volume which has no little to say on the subject of racial discrimination, as you can tell from my private working title (which I promptly make public), ‘Hot Aryan’, or ‘The Dark Brown Taste.’ I hope to publish it next Spring under some less formal title.”

And so goes one of my pet stories.

Bennett Cerf who, with Donald Klopfer, owns and manages Modern Library and Random House, was once an employee of the late Horace Liveright. In the October 7th issue of “Publishers’ Weekly”, he writes a piece about his former boss which is causing a certain number of publishing gentlemen to squirm. They should squirm. The treatment accorded Liveright after he was out of his own firm is one of the more unpleasant chapters in the history of American publishing.

Although H. L. Mencken is out of Mr. Alfred Knopf’s American Mercury and Henry Hazlitt is at the helm, most of the actual work of getting out the magazine will continue to be done by Charles Angoff, who has been assistant editor for some years. . . . Louis Stark, crack labor reporter for the New York Times, is stationed at Washington, where he covers all news pertaining to the NRA. . . . Heywood Broun (and just because his name appears in this column, don’t get the idea he is a Jew, is not quite ready to leave Scripps-Howard for Hearst. His contract still has a few years to run. . . . Samuel Schmalhausen, who collects symposiums on the slightest provocation, is off an another lecture tour. He hopes to be back in New York before the Revolution starts. . . . Despite his great popularity as a columnist, F. P. A.’s books never sell. The same thing can be said of Frank Sullivan, Heywood Broun and Alex Woolcott. . . . Viking Press, who bought Albert Halpern’s “Chicago Blues” and will publish it in the Spring. It was written before Halpern’s “Union Square”, which was a book club selection. The publishers paid the author not to publish “Chicago Blues”, saying that they would wait for another book; this turned out to be “Union Square.” Not an unusual procedure: publishers often see promise in an author and buy his manuscript with no intention of publishing it; they simply want to have first pick at the author’s future work. If such books sell, then they bring out the earlier works.

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