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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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said, “You have some influence. I insist that you call up Mrs. Thackery--whatever her name was at that time--she's now Dorothy Schiff--and you make her fire him for this review.” I said, “I can't do that. In fact I wouldn't do that. It's outrageous to do a thing like that. Anyway, it's an important book and you don't need Sterling North's review.” But it was very hard to placate him. In fact he was that way all through his life.

I told you that Alicia Paterson was a great friend of ours. One night she said that she had never met Sinclair Lewis. We had a dinner party right here in this house and had Alicia and Red and we sat them next to each other. She wanted very much to meet him. I sat on the other side of her. When we sat down, she said, “You know, Mr. Lewis, I've been looking forward to meeting you for a long time.” He said, “You have, have you? Why did you write that terrible review of one of my books?" Alicia said, “I don't know what you're talking about.” It was a book called Bethel Merriday--Doubleday had published it--and he remembered almost word for word the review she had written for Newsday in Long Island. Authors remember the bad reviews. She had no memory of it whatever. She was undone for the moment but before the evening was over she had charmed him.

A couple of other stories of the same kind about critics.... One night Phyllis and I were going to a dinner at John Mason Brown's in honor of Mr. Taylor, who at that time was head of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was

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