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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Interview #21
Interviewee: Bennett Cerf
Interviewer: Robbin Hawkins
New York City
February 8, 1968


There are several other books you said you wanted to mention.


Yes. There are some other important books we've probably overlooked in these sessions. Going all the way back to 1951, we published Sinclair Lewis‘last book. It was called World So Wide. It was simply dreadful. He had written an earlier version, and I can't tell you how bad it was. I read it up in Williamstown where I was with him, and it was very hard to tell him what I thought but I did. He was very angry at me. He then said that he had a deal with Herbert Mayes at Good Housekeeping and he was going to let Mayes read it and see what he thought. Mayes told him that it was even worse than I had rated it. So the great Sinclair Lewis actually tore up the book and wrote it all over again. I must say that the revised version was just as bad as the first one. It never should have been published but we had little alternative. It was murdered by the critics. That was his last book. His was a case of a man who kept writing too long. His last two books were dreadful. He should never have done them. But how can you keep a once very successful author from writing if he wants to?

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