In the Web of Ideas: The Education of a Publisher

In the Web of Ideas: The Education of a Publisher

by Charles Scribner

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Donna Seaman
An adjunct to his "In the Company of Writers: A Life in Publishing" (1990), this set of splendid essays, written over the last 25 years, offers more of Scribner's thoughts on the art and business of literature. Scribner is warm, wise, and charming, a product of his family's long involvement in scholarly and bookish concerns. He shares revealing stories about Hemingway and Einstein, presents fascinating summaries of the history of language and writing, and muses about how literature does nothing less than "foster intellectual bravery and originality." For example, "Confessions of a Book Publisher" is a candid account of the demands of being a professional reader responsible for evaluating hundreds of books on dozens of subjects; it is also a shrewd assessment of the publishing industry. Looking ahead, Scribner recognizes the usefulness of electronic information, but believes that books will always be the primary medium for learning: "there is no substitute for one human mind meeting another on the page of a well-written book." Amen.

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