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how long he was to continue active or anything like....?
Absolutely. When you're a public company, you have to
have contracts. He got a contract. Blanche got a contract.
Every top editor at Knopf got a contract. We made certain that
all of them would participate in this deal. They all got their
share. We assured Alfred that we would have absolutely nothing
to do with Knopf's editorial policy--a promise which we have
scrupulously lived up to for two reasons. One, I'm a man of
my word; and two, I'm scared to death of Alfred. If he starts
roaring at me, I run!
But he's sort of gotten out of the business now, though.
Alfred is now seventy-six. He's just remarried. Blanche
died last year, and he married a very lovely woman. She is
not like Blanche. She doesn't know about the publishing business.
She's not a rival to him. He only comes in one or two
days a week. He's more or less letting go. He's still interested
in the educational department and the history department.
The Knopf history list is the best in the country. He's still
talking to history professors. He's still interested in South
American books, which he has published religiously, though very
few of them ever showed a profit. His excellent music books
for the most part have lost money, too. Many of the books that
Alfred does lose money, but they're all distinguished publishing.
The books that he's most ashamed of are the ones that
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