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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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but that was an hilarious beginning of our personal relationship.

In 1940 another funny thing happened. We decided to do a two-volume Aristotle for our Lifetime Library, and...


I think you may have told me about this.


Did I tell you about Richard McKeon? I don't think that I did. No, I think that I told you about Moses Hadas and our Modern Library Tacitus. This time we were turning our attention to Aristotle. Whenever we were going to do a classic like that we would investigate and get a consensus from people on who would be the best man to edit it. In this case, there wasn't much doubt. Professor Richard McKeon at the University of Chicago was our man because he was the recognized Aristotle scholar.

I wrote a very dignified letter of Prof. McKeon at the University of Chicago and got back a letter full of insults and whatnot. It seems that we had sat next to each other at Columbia for several years in different classes. I couldn't believe that this was the Dick McKeon that I had caroused around with.

The same thing happened some years later. A Trappist monk named Thomas Merton became quite famous with a book called The Seven Story Mountain. I guess it was the first time that a Trappist monk became a best-seller, I needed an introduction for some book or other (I've forgotten what it was) but I thought that he'd be perfect for the job.

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