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We haven't discussed today your personal life. The last
point we discussed was your trip to Europe just after you
bought the Modern Library.
And I met Anita Loos, who wrote Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Right. Now, what happened to you as a person during this
time, say, from 1935?
Let me give you my second trip to Europe, which was
After revisiting London, I went down to Italy. I was
30 years old exactly. I spent my 30th birthday in Naples. It
was a wonderful evening because I met a girl I had known in
Philadelphia who was there on her honeymoon. I was alone, and
her marriage had already gone sour, so I remember spending my
30th birthday with this beautiful young bride. I don't know
where the hell her husband was.
But the great thing I was looking forward to then: I
had written and had made dates to meet two people in Florence,
whom I was very anxious to meet. One of them was D. H. Lawrence
and the other was Norman Douglas.
When I got to Florence I found a note at the hotel:
Mr. Douglas expected me to have dinner with him, and, sure
enough, he came around. South Wind at this time was one of
the top sellers in the Modern Library. Norman Douglas was very
famous for this one book; also, a few others he had done on the
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