By Nicholas A. Basbanes
For Yale college Press, which celebrates its hundredth birthday in 2008, the century has been an eventful one, punctuated with out few surprises. the click has released greater than 8,000 volumes over the years, rankings of bestsellers and award-winners between them, and those books have come to fruition in the course of the efforts of a bunch of colourful authors, editors, administrators, board participants, and others of highbrow and literary renown.
With an ear continually cocked for an attractive story, one in every of today’s top storytellers offers an anecdote-rich chronicle of the Press’s first a hundred years. Nicholas Basbanes, whom David McCullough has known as the best authority of books approximately books,” quick convinces us that the Press’s heritage, whereas bookish, is additionally full of life and engaging. Basbanes explores the saga at the back of the purchase of Eugene O’Neill’s blockbuster play, the best-ever Yale bestseller Long Day’s trip into Night; the debate sparked in 1965 by means of ebook of The Vinland Map; the origins of the groundbreaking Annals of Communism sequence, initiated within the wake of the Soviet Union’s dying; and plenty of extra highlights from Press annals. Basbanes seems to be on the purposes at the back of the publisher’s impressive monetary luck, and he completes A international of Letters with a glimpse on the new projects that might propel the clicking right into a moment fascinating century.
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Extra info for A World of Letters: Yale University Press, 1908-2008
Twenty-one university presses were operating in the United States at the time, with Columbia, by far, being the most active, issuing 92 of the 551 scholarly titles released in 1941; Yale ﬁnished a distant ﬁfth that year, behind Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Chicago. The minutes of the April 27, 1942, meeting of the Governing Board included an entry that speaks for the period and pointedly demonstrates the sometimes esoteric nature of books published by a university press and the limited audience so many of them are able to reach: “Mr.
Cross and Tucker Brooke, named as general editors. A. D. 1889—Professor Cross had already been recruited by George Parmly Day to edit the Yale Review, a voluntary task he performed from 1911 to 1940. After relinquishing his formal duties at the university in 1930 at the mandatory retirement age of sixty-eight—his various positions had included Sterling Professor of English, university provost, and dean of the Graduate School—Cross decided to run for governor of Connecticut as a Democrat in what was then a staunchly Republican state; that November he won what would be the ﬁrst of four two-year terms, holding oﬃce from 1931 to 1939.
At Yale University Press, the remarkable sales of two titles issued within six years of each other in the 1950s are interesting for reasons that go well beyond the number of copies each sold, though in both instances the ﬁgures they recorded—and which they continue to post after more than half a century in print—are wildly successful by any measurement of accounting. The ﬁrst of these is the kind of book that a university press exists to publish. Brilliantly titled, in what had to be a moment of inspiration, The Lonely Crowd, the book grew out of research conducted in 1948 and 1949 by David Riesman at the invitation of the Yale Committee on National Policy.
A World of Letters: Yale University Press, 1908-2008 by Nicholas A. Basbanes