Monday, October 15, 2007

Ignorance and Impudent Puppies, or, A Postscript to Edmund Wilson Week

Though I'll continue reading away at the new Library of America volumes here and there for a good long while, I'll close Edmund Wilson Week with two entries from James Laughlin's wonderful autobiography in scrapbook form, The Way It Wasn't (2006):

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Crack-Up went through about five printings and we keep it in print. But it got me in Dutch with Edmund Wilson because the papers came from him and I didn't show him proofs until it was too late. He had systematically crossed out the name of every friend they'd had at Princeton, though the book said nothing bad about them. And I put the names back in, John Peal Bishop and this one and that one. Edmund wrote to me on one of his cards, "You are an impudent puppy."

Which isn't as bad as the assessment of Wilson himself that one of Laughlin's authors delivered:


I should have spotted from something he said when I first took him out to lunch that Edward Dahlberg was going to be a problem. Over a BLT on 4th Street (no New Directions author has ever been lunched at the Four Seasons) Edward told me, quite seriously, that Edmund Wilson was "a very ignorant man."

No comments:

Post a Comment