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Title Details
Uncommon Reader by Smith, Helen
Uncommon Reader: A Life of Edward Garnett
by Smith, Helen

A penetrating biography of the most important English-language editor of the early twentieth century

“I know you’ve made me.” Some of the most illustrious writers of the early twentieth century would recognize and endorse the sentiments contained in Joseph Conrad’s letter to his literary mentor and friend Edward Garnett, the renowned publisher, critic, and editor. Over a career spanning half a century, from 1887 to 1937, Garnett wheedled, coaxed, and cajoled great books into being. Aside from having exquisite taste, he was also considered a mentor by many writers, including Joseph Conrad, D. H. Lawrence, Edward Thomas, John Galsworthy, Henry Green, and T. E. Lawrence.

To be mentored by Garnett was to enter into a relationship as much personal as it was professional. In this fascinating biography, Helen Smith charts his relationships with legendary authors, from his early days with Joseph Conrad and his battles with D. H. Lawrence to his nurturing of a later generation of talent. He was instrumental in bringing Russian literature to a British readership and enthusiastically advocated the work of American and Australian authors, including Stephen Crane, Sarah Orne Jewett, Robert Frost, and Sherwood Anderson.

The novelist Ford Madox Ford once declared that when in the States he never lectured or went to a university or a literary party without someone asking, “What about Garnett! What sort of a fellow is he?”’ Smith’s biography of Edward Garnett provides a fascinating response to that question.

Drawing on extensive archive material, some of which is previously unpublished, The Uncommon Reader presents an intimate portrait of the life and world of a man who did much to shape the literary landscape of early twentieth-century Britain and beyond.

Published December, 2017 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Hardcover, 496 Pages, ISBN: 9780374281120, ISBN-10: 0374281122, List Price $35.00.

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