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The Tender Hour of Twilight: Paris in the '50s, New York in the '60s: A Memoir of Publishing's Golden Age

The Tender Hour of Twilight: Paris in the '50s, New York in the '60s: A Memoir of Publishing's Golden Age [Kindle Edition]

Richard Seaver , Jeannette Seaver , James Salter

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Product Description


"I knew Dick Seaver as a friend and fellow wrestler; he was later my publisher at Arcade. As a wrestler, Dick had strong hands. I didn't know him in the '50s, when he was a young editor in Paris, where he read (and first wrote about) Beckett, or in the '60s, when he published Burroughs's "Naked Lunch" at Grove Press in New York. But some of the stories in this memoir are the ones Dick told over dinner--falling in love with his wife, Jeannette, on New Year's Eve, 1953; meeting Robbe-Grillet, who was 'charming and witty, with a soupcon of malice lurking not far from the surface'; taking Beckett to a Mets doubleheader in New York; correcting a flawed English translation of Genet's "Our Lady of the Flowers" in Paris; even escorting Genet through the hazards of the '68 Democratic Convention in Chicago. It was only after Seaver's death that he was revealed to be Sabine D'Estree, the translator of the 'infamous' "Story of O," though many of his friends knew--or we had guessed. (The 'infamous' word, said with a smile, is Seaver's.) Dick was loved for his exemplary life in literature and envied for his remarkable and cherished family--I mean both his actual family and the extended family of fiercely beloved writers Dick Seaver so passionately looked after. I remember and miss those strong hands." --John Irving

"Richard Seaver was a glamorous and cultured publisher who lived in Paris in the 1950s, where he befriended Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco, and in New York in the 1960s, where he led the fight against censorship and championed William Burroughs, Henry Miller, and D.H. Lawrence. Fluent in French and Spanish, he acted as an important conduit between European and American literature. He was what every writer would want his editor to be: urbane, loyal, sensitive to aesthetic values, and fierce in his defense of freedom of speech. This honest, companionable book is an eloquent testament to his exciting life." --Edmund White

"Richard Seaver played a vital role in A

Product Description

From Beckett to Burroughs, The Story of O to The Autobiography of Malcolm X, an iconic literary troublemaker tells the colorful stories behind the stories

Richard Seaver came to Paris in 1950 seeking Hemingway’s moveable feast. Paris had become a different city, traumatized by World War II, yet the red wine still flowed, the cafés bustled, and the Parisian women found American men exotic and heroic. There was an Irishman in Paris writing plays and novels unlike anything anyone had ever read—but hardly anyone was reading them. There were others, too, doing equivalently groundbreaking work for equivalently small audiences. So when his friends launched a literary magazine, Merlin, Seaver knew this was his calling: to bring the work of the likes of Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, and Jean Genet to the world. The Korean War ended all that—the navy had paid for college and it was time to pay them back. After two years at sea, Seaver washed ashore in New York City with a beautiful French wife and a wider sense of the world than his compatriots. The only young literary man with the audacity to match Seaver’s own was Barney Rosset of Grove Press. A remarkable partnership was born, one that would demolish U.S. censorship laws with inimitable joie de vivre as Seaver and Rosset introduced American readers to Lady Chatterly’s Lover, Henry Miller, Story of O, William Burroughs, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and more. As publishing hurtles into its uncertain future, The Tender Hour of Twilight is a stirring reminder of the passion, the vitality, and even the glamour of a true life in literature.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 867 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0374273782
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (3 Jan 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005J4EW5Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #443,875 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like opening a window to literary history from just-after WWII through the sixties 15 Jan 2012
By Judy Karasik - Published on
This is mandatory reading for anyone who wants to understand how writers and editors work together to create and publish work that's trying to do something original. Richard Seaver, in a memoir edited after his death by Jeannette Medina Seaver, his wife of 55 years (and so often his working partner), tells the story of Paris in the 1950s (Beckett, Ionesco, Genet) and New York in the 1960s (Burroughs, Henry Miller, the censorship battles). His voice pulls you in to an intimate view of how people who are passionate about writing--and who think and live through writing--work together to advance the cause of great new and emerging work--and, as their portfolio builds, to have the great joy of advancing the work of writers they've worked with over the years. Seaver was brilliant, classy, gutsy, tremendously hard-working, and had extraordinary taste and insight and the determination to not only believe in the work he responded to, but to fight for its publication. (He was also himself a writer who never lost his sense of humor, not for a single page, which makes this a really fun ride.) This is also a book about relationships--friendships, the relationships among writers and editors, and the love story between Dick and Jeannette. If you are interested in this period of literature, read it. If you are interested in knowing how that under-financed thing called literary publishing really works, read it. If you want a wonderful read, this is for you.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure not to be missed! 19 Jan 2013
By D. Crowell - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Generally I read literary fiction, yet Seavers memorable book is both literary in terms of superb writing as well as a fascinating account of Paris and Parisians post WWII and the literary stars of the era. The book also covers Nyc's literary scene in the sixties and details the riveting battle against censorship waged against Lady Chatterly's Lover, Henry Miller etc. in the process Seaver offers a portrait of the publishing industry both abroad and in the US. Readers who love literature, Paris, NYC publishing stories and a writing style that both compels and entrails, must read this book. History buffs interested in the fifties and sixties will also love this book. Seaver brings Beckett, Sartre, Genet and others to life in a way never done before. Seaver was not only a one of a kind editor and translator but a formidable writer himself. This is noy
T a book quickly forgotten. Don't let the size of the book deter you...the pages fly. Rarely have I read a work of non-fiction with such narrative drive. Can't say enough good things about this book. Savor it!
4.0 out of 5 stars Paris, "The Moveable Feast" revisited 8 Dec 2013
By C. Green - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An interesting account of a period in Paris when I was there and knew most of the
people he writes about. But familiar as I was, he did reveal a number of things I
did not know. I was a poor student/aspiring writer and he was already establishing
5.0 out of 5 stars Great view to the decades in 2 great cities. 26 Jun 2013
By Madeline Petersen - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not only is the book a stellar one for its subject, but Richard Seaver's voice made me want to read everything he has ever written or contributed to!
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 5 Oct 2014
By John Williams - Published on
excellent writing and insightful to a major period of writing ... thoroughly enjoyed the book
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