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eBook The Way It Wasn't: From the Files of James Laughlin ePub

eBook The Way It Wasn't: From the Files of James Laughlin ePub

by Barbara Epler,Daniel Javitch,James Laughlin

  • ISBN: 0811216675
  • Category: Writing Research and Publishing Guides
  • Subcategory: Reference
  • Author: Barbara Epler,Daniel Javitch,James Laughlin
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: New Directions; Cloth Ed edition (November 30, 2006)
  • Pages: 288
  • ePub book: 1974 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1695 kb
  • Other: docx rtf azw lit
  • Rating: 4.1
  • Votes: 558

Description

This James Laughlin was more formally James Laughlin IV. James Laughlin the First founded Jones . THE WAY IT WASN'T contains scads of anecdotes both from a life of wealth and privilege and from the literary world.

This James Laughlin was more formally James Laughlin IV. James Laughlin the First founded Jones & Laughlin Steel C. which at one time was the fourth largest steel company in the world. James Laughlin the Fourth was born in 1914 and grew up in (to me) unfathomable wealth and privilege. The Mellons lived across the street; Henry Clay Frick was a great-uncle. Before matriculating at Harvard, James the Fourth went to The Choate School and Le Rosey, a boarding school in Switzerland where one of his classmates was "Pahlevi", the future Shah of Iran.

Laughlin piled books into his Buick and drove as far as Omaha to extol the greatness of Pound and Henry Miller and Elizabeth .

Laughlin piled books into his Buick and drove as far as Omaha to extol the greatness of Pound and Henry Miller and Elizabeth Bishop and many other heroes of contemporary lit. Laughlin wrote a verse memoir, Byways, which was published posthumously in 2005 and did not, I think, make the best-seller lists. The Way It Wasn’t will do a little better, perhaps, as it is handsome, lavishly illustrated and cobbled together purely for the fun of it. It deserves a place on the coffee table or toilet tank of any discerning littérateur.

James Laughlin-poet, ladies' man, heir to a steel fortune, and the .

James Laughlin-poet, ladies' man, heir to a steel fortune, and the founder of New Directions-was still at work on his autobiography when he died at 8. With an accent on humor,The Way It Wasn't is a scrapbook loaded with ephemera-letters and memories, clippings and photographs. This richly illustrated album glitters like a magpie's nest, if a magpie could have known Tennessee Williams, . Williams, Merton, Miller, Stein, and Pound. In "C": "I wish that nice Jean Cocteau were still around. But inThe Way It Wasn't James Laughlin's love of the crazy world and his crazier authors does not pinch a bit: it glows with wit and enlarges our feeli.

The Way It Wasn't: From the Files of James Laughlin. Heir to a steel fortune, James Laughlin IV grew up in a mansion in Pittsburgh where the inside servants were Irish and the outside servants black, where, in the summer, the windows were fitted with frames of cheesecloth that had to be washed of soot every day. The Mellons lived across the street; the Carnegies nearby. Henry Clay Frick, who brought in the militia against the striking Homestead coal miners, was a great-uncle.

James Laughlin―poet, ladies' man, heir to a steel fortune, and the founder of New Directions―was still at work on his .

James Laughlin―poet, ladies' man, heir to a steel fortune, and the founder of New Directions―was still at work on his autobiography when he died at 83. He left behind personal files crammed with memories and memorabilia: in "M" he is taking Marianne Moore to Yankee games (outings captured here in charming snapshots) to discuss "arcane mammals," and in "N" nearly plunging off a mountain, hunting butterflies with Nabokov ("Volya was a doll in a very severe upper-crust Russian way").

James Laughlin-poet, ladies' man, heir to a steel fortune, and . Daniel Javitch is Professor of Comparative Literature at New York University. But inThe Way It Wasn't James Laughlin's love of the crazy world and his crazier authors does not pinch a bit: it glows with wit and enlarges our feeling for the late great twentieth century. He is the author of Poetry and Courtliness in Renaissance England, Proclaiming a Classic: The Canonization of Orlando Furioso, and is at work on a book tentatively entitled Thinking About Genre in the Sixteenth Century.

James Laughlin, Barbara Epler, Daniel Javitch. With an accent on humor, The Way It Wasn't is a scrapbook loaded with ephemera-letters and memories, clippings and photographs. He took me to lunch at the Grand Véfours in the Palais-Royal and explained all about flying saucers. He understood mechanical things.

James Laughlin-poet, ladies' man, heir to a steel fortune, and the founder of New Directions-was still at work on his .

James Laughlin-poet, ladies' man, heir to a steel fortune, and the founder of New Directions-was still at work on his autobiography when he died at 83. He left behind personal files crammed with memories and memorabilia: in "M" he is taking Marianne Moore to Yankee games (outings captured here in charming snapshots) to discuss "arcane mammals," and in "N" nearly plunging James Laughlin-poet, ladies' man, heir to a steel fortune, and the founder of New Directions-was still at work on his autobiography when he died at 8.

Lavishly illustrated, The Way It Wasn't offers an intimate firsthand encounter with 20th-century Modernism, from the extraordinary man who defined it for America.

Our Retail Price:£18. Lavishly illustrated, The Way It Wasn't offers an intimate firsthand encounter with 20th-century Modernism, from the extraordinary man who defined it for America. James Laughlin-poet, ladies' man, heir to a steel fortune, and the founder of New Directions-was still at work on his autobiography when he died at 83.

Co-executor of the literary estate of James Laughlin.

Lavishly illustrated, The Way It Wasn't offers an intimate firsthand encounter with 20th-century Modernism, from the extraordinary man who defined it for America.

James Laughlin―poet, ladies' man, heir to a steel fortune, and the founder of New Directions―was still at work on his autobiography when he died at 83. He left behind personal files crammed with memories and memorabilia: in "M" he is taking Marianne Moore to Yankee games (outings captured here in charming snapshots) to discuss "arcane mammals," and in "N" nearly plunging off a mountain, hunting butterflies with Nabokov ("Volya was a doll in a very severe upper-crust Russian way"). With an accent on humor, The Way It Wasn't is a scrapbook loaded with ephemera―letters and memories, clippings and photographs. This richly illustrated album glitters like a magpie's nest, if a magpie could have known Tennessee Williams, W.C. Williams, Merton, Miller, Stein, and Pound. In "C": "I wish that nice Jean Cocteau were still around. He took me to lunch at the Grand Véfours in the Palais-Royal and explained all about flying saucers. He understood mechanical things. He would advise me." In "P": "There was not much 'gracious living' in Pittsburgh, where at one house, the butler passed chewing gum on a silver salver after coffee." And: "The world is full of a large number of irritating people." In "H" there's Lillian Hellman: "What a raspy character. When I knocked at her door to try to borrow one of her books (hoping to butter her up) she only opened her door four inches and said words to the effect: 'Fuck off, you rapist.'" Marketing in "M": "I think it's important to get the 'troubadours' into the title. That's a 'buy-me' word." In "G": "Olga asked Allen Ginsberg if he was also buying Pound Conference T-shirts for his grandchildren. She was most lovable throughout." In "L": "Wyndham Lewis wrote 'Why don't you stop New Directions, your books are crap.'" And we find love in "L": "Cicero noted that an old love pinches like a crab." But in The Way It Wasn't James Laughlin's love of the crazy world and his crazier authors does not pinch a bit: it glows with wit and enlarges our feeling for the late great twentieth century.

Comments

Eayaroler Eayaroler
James Laughlin once wrote that he was working on his "auto-bug-offery" [autobiography]. It was, he continued, "Mostly fictional. What I wished had happened. `The Way It Wasn't' would be a good title." By the time Laughlin died, in 1997 at age eighty-three, he had produced, still unfinished, a distinctive memoir in verse called "Byways." In THE WAY IT WASN'T, Barbara Epler and Daniel Javitch compiled another memoir of sorts from the jottings of Laughlin, his correspondence, and various ephemera. It also is quite distinctive as well as one of the most enjoyable books I have read through in a long time.

This James Laughlin was more formally James Laughlin IV. James Laughlin the First founded Jones & Laughlin Steel Co., which at one time was the fourth largest steel company in the world. James Laughlin the Fourth was born in 1914 and grew up in (to me) unfathomable wealth and privilege. The Mellons lived across the street; Henry Clay Frick was a great-uncle. Before matriculating at Harvard, James the Fourth went to The Choate School and Le Rosey, a boarding school in Switzerland where one of his classmates was "Pahlevi", the future Shah of Iran. Once, when Laughlin was skiing in the Alps, he fell and ripped his pants; to the rescue came the Queen of Holland, who "had a sewing kit in her sitzpack and quickly repaired me." "Then there was the promising young conductor from Vienna, Herbert von Karajan, a fine and fearless skier. He took pity on my shortage of cash for the busses. He would ride me up the mountain in his chauffeured car then let me ski down with him, coached by his private instructor."

Laughlin ended up using his money to do more for literature in this country than anyone else I can think of off hand. In 1936, while he was still at Harvard, Laughlin founded New Directions Publishing, which remains the foremost independent publisher of modernist and avant-garde literature in the U.S. Over the decades, Laughlin and New Directions published (often as the first American publisher) the likes of Borges, Brecht, Camus, Garcia Lorca, Hesse, Nabokov, Neruda, Paz, Rilke, Sebald, Dylan Thomas, and Tennessee Williams - to name just a few. Though he tried to run New Directions in a business-like fashion, his inherited wealth enabled Laughlin to publish and maintain in print many "non-commercial" authors, such as Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams and other American poets.

THE WAY IT WASN'T contains scads of anecdotes both from a life of wealth and privilege and from the literary world. As regards the latter, which ultimately is the more interesting, the book contains profiles of, among others, Djuna Barnes, Elizabeth Bishop, E.E. Cummings, T.S. Eliot, Denise Levertov, Henry Miller, Thomas Merton, Ezra Pound, Kenneth Patchen, Kenneth Rexroth, Delmore Schwartz, Edith Sitwell, Gertrude Stein, and Dylan Thomas (Laughlin was the one who identified Thomas's corpse at the morgue at Bellevue Hospital). Laughlin also relates considerable gossip and he pens a few venomous characterizations, such as calling Paul Bowles a "hashish-eating scum-bag", a "dogs'-behind-licker", and an "obliquious snot-sniffer".

The book also contains some fascinating items of correspondence, with the likes of Hemingway, Kerouac, and the two Williamses (Tennessee and William Carlos), as well as numerous photographs from Laughlin's personal files. Two of those photographs are of Marianne Moore, one inside Shea Stadium with Casey Stengel and the other as part of a group outside the ballpark. Laughlin writes that he used to take Miss Moore to ball games, and that she was very knowledgeable about baseball - that, indeed, "she could have managed the Dodgers." (He goes on to make a slight mistake: in the course of bragging that he had seen Mazeroski's homer to win the 1960 World Series, he writes that that "was the same game when the Yankee's great shortstop Phil Rizzuto was hit in the Adam's apple and had to be taken out" - it actually was Tony Kubek, not Phil Rizzuto, who had to leave the game after a potential double-play ground ball took a bad bounce into his throat in the eighth inning. Though I wasn't at Forbes Field, I saw the game on television.)

Under the heading "Girls", there are snapshots of nine different comely women, all clothed, though three are in swimsuits. On the next two-page spread, under the heading "Girls: Personal and Confidential", there are three proofs, spilling out a plain white envelope, of an equally comely woman, naked. And speaking of girls, there is this entry: "As you point out, there is a dichotomy in the girl/woman department. I think I explained it to you once. In Latin, the word `puella', which means girl, is very beautiful-sounding, while the word for woman, `mulier', is to my ear very ugly. That's all there is to it. I'm an object of scorn from the feminists anyway, so it hardly matters."

Great stuff - and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Entries are organized in chapters from A to XYZ. In addition to the marvelous content, the book itself is very handsomely produced, with pleasing graphics and spacious layout. I bought the hard-cover edition, which, as of today, Amazon offers for only five dollars more than the paperbound. The hard-cover is more than worth the extra five bucks. The paper is thick, creamy, and semi-gloss; the binding is first rate; and there even is a sewn-in ribbon marker.
Tejar Tejar
James Laughlin's grandfather built a mansion in our small town, and was therefore a significant part of our community's history. Writings of this James Laughlin, the publisher, yields insights into the lives of his forebears, which is relevant to research I am conducting for our small museum's writing project.
Altad Altad
James Laughlin was a unique contributor to the arts of America. Not only was he a man of monetary wealth, he was also a man of fanatical genius in searching out and publishing works by the modernists of the 20th century in his infamous and invaluable New Directions Publishing house. This splendid book is filled with the writings of famous persons but it doesn't stop there. Included in this irresistible volume are photographs, book covers, hand written notes, postcards, doodles and other memorabilia of some very important artists of word and image.

Included in this witty and wise and funky book are examples of alphabetically arranged luminaries such as Paul Bowles, Gertrude Stein, Tennessee Williams, William Carlos Williams, Merton, Miller, Pound, Pablo Neruda, Denise Levertov, Bei Dao, Wyndham Lewis, Jean Cocteau, Lillian Hellman, Allen Ginsberg - to mention only a few. Laughlin's comments on these and others are poignant, full of gossip, insightful and hilarious.

The volume has been published by - who else? - New Directions and the 343-page book is richly illustrated and overflowing with bits and pieces of James Laughlin's autobiography s well as his own works and his pithy observations of the people whose careers he helped secure. This is a splendid book for all those who love to read as well as those who love to delve into history - from the backdoor! Highly recommended. Grady Harp, November 06
Keth Keth
This is not the book I wanted. "The Godfather the way it wasn't" is the book I wanted.
Pruster Pruster
James Laughlin who died at 83 in 1997 left behind a vast collection of personal files filled with notes, stories, pictures, and other memorabilia about the people he had known through his life. Most of these were literature figures from the early and middle of the twentieth century.

The collection of material is about as random as you could imagine. They are simply filed as you would in a filing cabinet from A (begins with Auto-Bug-Offery) to Z (Louis Zukofsky). The entries vary from a few lines to a few pages and reflect some incident, some communication, some little something that lends an added dimension to their relationship and to our understanding of both Laughlin and the subject.

Expect no consistency, it's A to Z order and while generally the letter of the alphabet refers to the last name of the subject, this isn't necessarily the case. For instance in the entry under Hitler, he is barely mentioned.

The best part of this book is it's unexpectedness. You have absolutely no idea what going to be said next.
Bort Bort
Laughlin is of interest to historians of publishing and those old enough to remember him and New Directions

- even if its list was irritating. The Way it wasn't is an inviting title, but the book is grossly over-produced:

printed on heavy art paper, too much white space amongst the blocks of self-conscious typography. The

personality exposed by the book is like his list: a mixture of shrewdness, self-indulgence and vanity. Probably

not the best memorial.