Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Unsubstantiated chuckle

As part of the project I'm working on, I had to do a little research into the publishing house of Charles Scribner's Sons.

I found this funny tidbit at a page from a University of South Carolina homage to Scott Fitzgerald. I haven't been able to substantiate it elsewhere. Can anyone now or in the future comment with any measure of authority?

I've slightly edited it for correctness, but here it is.

Henry Adams, whose "History of the United States" was published in 1889 in nine volumes, and his ironical letters to the firm offer a model for any difficult author to follow. Henry van Dyke started out on the Scribner's list with a pamphlet titled "The National Sin of Literary Piracy" in 1888. Van Dyke wrote another book a few years later that caused a rather awkward situation; the book was titled "Fisherman’s Luck" and, to its publisher’s bad luck, the title contained a prominent and regrettable single-letter misprint that almost put Scribner's instantly out of business and the author into an early grave.

As an aside, I wonder if "The National Sin of Literary Piracy" has any application to digital media a century later.


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