Kenneth Rexroth And James Laughlin

Overview

Frankly—H. Miller was defended by me only because he spoke against the War, and I think that was the main reason for his fame. Now—I do not believe, what with Palmistry, Chirography, Phrenology, and the Great Cryptogram, he will survive the retooling period. I honestly think he is the most insufferable snob I have ever met—but all reformed pandhandlers are like that.… in a letter from Kenneth Rexroth to James Laughlin
Correspondence between author Rexroth, a "presiding figure of...

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Overview

Frankly—H. Miller was defended by me only because he spoke against the War, and I think that was the main reason for his fame. Now—I do not believe, what with Palmistry, Chirography, Phrenology, and the Great Cryptogram, he will survive the retooling period. I honestly think he is the most insufferable snob I have ever met—but all reformed pandhandlers are like that.… in a letter from Kenneth Rexroth to James Laughlin
Correspondence between author Rexroth, a "presiding figure of the San Francisco Renaissance," and publisher Laughlin, spanning forty years. Introduction, notes on the text, select bibliography, index. Errata sheet laid in.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``You are becoming . . . a counter-revolutionary publisher,'' poet-essayist Kenneth Rexroth blasted his friend and publisher James Laughlin. ``You are neurotic as hell,'' Laughlin, head of New Directions, wrote to the tantrum-prone muse of San Francisco's literary renaissance of the 1960s. Despite deadly cutting remarks, their relationship lasted from the 1930s to Rexroth's death in 1982. A flow of literary tabletalk, their correspondence is most interesting for Rexroth's lacerating comments on certain writers: Ezra Pound (``too much plain eccentricity''), Robert Penn Warren (``extremely derivative . . . and derivative from very bad exemplars''), Pablo Neruda (``literary Stalinism'') and many others. Rexroth also records his meetings with Dylan Thomas and Henry Miller, bemoans his penuriousness and literary obscurity, and mulls over his marriages which were constantly falling to pieces. On politics, he sometimes sounds eerily prescient: ``The future Assyrians will unquestionably destroy the race.'' Bartlett is a professor of English at the Univeristy of New Mexico. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Laughlin was the founder of New Directions and a lifelong publisher of Rexroth's works, which included 20 books of poetry, essays, translations, and editions. This selection of their correspondence is drawn from some 350 letters and cards they exchanged between 1937 and 1982. The letters, mostly from Rexroth, are annotated, with essential bits of literary history and biography added. As the letters reveal, Rexroth often abusively lambasted Laughlin for selling out to the establishment. Laughlin bore these outbursts with amazing tolerance, sometimes reminding Rexroth that he could always look for another publisher. Rexroth acknowledged that he would not have had a career without Laughlin and that he thought of Laughlin as his ``best friend, and always a good comrade.'' Their relationship survived five decades until Rexroth's death. The correspondence shows the many sides of Rexroth and also includes commentary on many notable writers of the day. For a biography of Rexroth, see Linda Hamalian's A Life of Kenneth Rexroth , LJ 4/1/91.-- Addie Lee Bracy, Beaver Coll. Lib., Glenside, Pa.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393029390
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/1991
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 322
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Poet-essayistKenneth Rexroth(1905-1982) was a high-school dropout, disillusioned ex-Communist, pacifist, anarchist, rock-climber, critic and translator, mentor, Catholic-Buddhist spiritualist and a prominent figure of San Francisco's Beat scene. He is regarded as a central figure of the San Francisco Renaissance and is among the first American poets to explore traditional Japanese forms such as the haiku.

James Laughlin (1914–1997) founded New Directions in 1936 while still a student at Harvard. He wrote and compiled more than a dozen books of poetry as well as stories and essays; seven volumes of his correspondence with his authors are available from W.W. Norton.

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