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Session:         Page of 1029

B.C.S.
Interview #17
Interviewee: Bennett Cerf
Interviewer: Robbin Hawkins
New York City
January 30, 1968

Q:

Would you like to fill in some blank spots? Let's go back to 1940.

Cerf:

Done and done! Back in 1940 we published a book that we thought heralded the emergence of a fine new American author. Unfortunately he's written only one or two books since. That was Walter Van Tillburg Clarke, whose book The Oxbow Incident was one of the great Westerns. It was a huge success. It was followed by City of Tender Leaves, which I think he had written before The Oxbow Incident. It was obviously autobiographical and didn't fare too well. Then came The Track of the Cat, which was a quite successful book.

Since then he's been teaching, first at San Francisco State College and now he's at the University of Nevada, where he comes from originally, in Reno. The last I saw of him, he was living outside of Reno; and working on a history of Nevada for the state. He writes whole books and tears them up. We never see them. He considers them unworthy of himself.

Q:

Is he teaching English out in Nevada?

Cerf:

At the moment he's not teaching at all. He's doing his history of Nevada.



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