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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Session:         Page of 1029

Cerf:

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

Q:

Did they come to you and ask for it?

Cerf:

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.

Q:

You told me the Saroyan story.

Cerf:

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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