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The Lady with the Borzoi

Blanche Knopf, Literary Tastemaker Extraordinaire

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

The untold story of Blanche Knopf, the singular woman who helped define American literature

Left off her company’s fifth anniversary tribute but described by Thomas Mann as “the soul of the firm,” Blanche Knopf began her career when she founded Alfred A. Knopf with her husband in 1915. With her finger on the pulse of a rapidly changing culture, Blanche quickly became a driving force behind the firm.

A conduit to the literature of Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance, Blanche also legitimized the hard-boiled detective fiction of writers such as Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, and Raymond Chandler; signed and nurtured literary authors like Willa Cather, Elizabeth Bowen, and Muriel Spark; acquired momentous works of journalism by John Hersey and William Shirer; and introduced American readers to Albert Camus, André Gide, and Simone de Beauvoir, giving these French writers the benefit of her consummate editorial taste.

As Knopf celebrates its centennial, Laura Claridge looks back at the firm’s beginnings and the dynamic woman who helped to define American letters for the twentieth century. Drawing on a vast cache of papers, Claridge also captures Blanche’s “witty, loyal, and amusing” personality, and her charged yet oddly loving relationship with her husband. An intimate and often surprising biography, The Lady with the Borzoi is the story of an ambitious, seductive, and impossibly hardworking woman who was determined not to be overlooked or easily categorized.

From Publishers Weekly

Dec 21, 2015 – Blanche Knopf was a full partner in the esteemed publishing company Alfred A. Knopf (named for her husband) from its founding in 1915 until her death in 1966. The case made here by biographer Claridge (Emily Post) is that, of the two partners, Blanche led the more interesting life. Shortly after marrying, Blanche and Alfred settled into a somewhat distant relationship and lived apart much of the time. Their lives revolved around books, with Blanche's many prestigious acquisitions including works by multiple Nobel Prize winners, Khalil Gibran, Dashiell Hammett, Willa Cather, Sigmund Freud, and countless other prominent authors. Claridge recounts Blanche's struggles with depression, intense love of dogs, and affairs with other men. Blanche's marriage was often fraught, but her friendship with writers H.L. Mencken and Carl Van Vechten helped sustain her emotionally. Claridge's storytelling is mostly clear and linear, but she occasionally omits narrative transitions, which can cause confusion for the reader. However, she manages to synthesize an enormous amount of research and biographical information to paint a complete picture of a complex figure. Packed with interesting literary anecdotes, this biography reveals a powerful woman who played an integral role in 20th-century publishing.
The Lady with the Borzoi
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  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Apr 12, 2016
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Seller: Macmillan
  • Print Length: 416 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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