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of these painstaking editors are rustrated authors and they
want to rewrite the author's book. Now Saxe Commins, as
much as I loved him, suffered very badly from this fault.
When he wrote himself, it was purple prose. It was the kind
of thing that he would have laughed at if somebody brought
it in to him, but that's the way that he wrote. He had the
gall--he didn't realize it--to try to rewrite Faulkner and
other authors that came in. He would tell them other
phrases that he thought were better than theirs. It was
done with all the good will in the world, but that kind of
editing--I think it's a good idea that it is out. Max
Perkins was that kind of an editor and Saxe Commins and
Gene Saxton at Harper's and Harry Maule--but the breed had
just died out.
For good reason do you think?
Well, it's part of the mechanism of life today.
Nobody has time for painstaking work anymore. It's like
the man who used to build chairs by hand or the cabinet
maker--the man who took pride in his workmanship. He
doesn't exist anymore.
Have you read a book that's come out of Random House,
say in the last five years, that you have felt should have
been edited or ever sent to the editor?
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