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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Harry and we were old friends. We gave the Burnetts the money to refloat the magazine. It didn't take much.


Did they come to you and ask for it?


I don't remember how it started, but we gave them space in our office on Fifty-seventh Street and Madison Avenue.

They rapidly became kind of a pain in the neck. They were always popping up. But we did uncover a few authors through them, one of them being--the most important being--William Saroyan.


You told me the Saroyan story.


Then let's get on to our acquisition of Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past.

This was another important addition to the Random House list. Proust had been published by a fine old gentleman named Thomas Seltzer, the uncle of Albert and Charles Boni. He was a first-rate publisher, but he had no business sense at all. He always was short of capital. He would just go along, doing a couple of fine little books a year. None of them would sell very much. But he did publish Proust!

When he retired, I ran down quickly and bought the Proust property from him...

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