Out of Print Expert Weighs In, from Maud Newton’s Blog

July 3rd, 2006

from Maud Newton’s Blog, out-of-print expert Robert Nedelkoff nominates three American novelists for rediscovery:

“What I’d like to do here is to present to any interested editors (at major houses, or at small presses with the kind of resources that would be needed) three American authors, whose oeuvres are extensive, and entirely out-of-print — writers whose work deserves the kind of treatment that Dawn Powell received at Steerforth or Stanley Elkin received at Dalkey Archive.”

His nominees:

Peter De Vries:

“De Vries … invariably hailed as ‘America’s foremost comic novelist.’ A writer whom Robertson Davies, in the Seventies and Eighties, repeatedly called the best American novelist, period. A writer praised by Kingsley and Martin Amis, Christopher Buckley, Julian Barnes, Thurber, Paul Theroux . . . the list could go on for centuries.” [Ed. Note: The University of Chicago Press reissued De Vries’ The Blood of the Lamb and Slouching Towards Kalamazoo in 2005.

Vance Bourjaily

“His first novel, The End Of My Life, was very nearly the last book edited by Max Perkins — and Bourjaily, to my knowledge, is the last living writer who worked with Perkins. (And, speaking of another of Perkins’ writers, Hemingway, in a conversation with Leslie Fiedler in 1960, singled out Bourjaily as the best writer of his generation….)”

Jerome Weidman

“Not long before he died, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote (it’s in his published letters) that Weidman was worth fifty or a hundred Steinbecks (forget which it was). Later in the Forties, Hemingway said in a letter that Weidman, in his first books, certainly proved he could write. Rebecca West liked him too.”

One Response to “Out of Print Expert Weighs In, from Maud Newton’s Blog”

  1. Robt Ned Says:

    It’s good (for my ego anyway) to see these old comments resurrected. Bourjaily and Weidman, according to Amazon, remain out of print. Two of De Vries’ books, as noted above, were reissued in ’05 but the publicist at the University of Chicago Press told me that it was hard to find anyone interested in reviewing them. (See http://www.nysun.com/article/15861 for an exception.)

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