William Maxwell Evarts Perkins

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William Maxwell Evarts Perkins is recognized as the greatest American editor of fiction of the 1920’s. He was legendary in his lifetime for discovering and developing brilliant authors that have impacted the literary world of today.

Maxwell Perkins a graduate from Harvard College in 1907 majored in economics and also studied under Charles Townsend Copeland, a famous literature teacher who helped prepare Perkins for his successful career in editing. Maxwell Perkins was a reporter for the New York Times, until he joined the Charles Scribner’s Sons or simply Scribner publishing house, Scribner’s was known for publishing some of the most respectable authors of that time. Although Maxwell Perkins admired these writers, he sought out promising young authors to re-invent the 20th century. In 1919, he signed F. Scott Fitzgerald and his first novel “The Romantic Egoist”, which was rejected from the house, but without abandoning the novel Perkins worked with Fitzgerald and revised its work. In 1920 the publication of “ This Side of Paradise” marked the debut of a new literary generation that would be associated to Perkins style and genre. Perkins soon rose to prominence as an editor, helping Fitzgerald once again with another novel, titled “ The Great Gatsby” which is a renown masterpiece and is also referred as the “Great American Novel.”

Secondly, as Maxwell Perkins reputation began to arise, he was introduced to Ernest Hemingway and published his first novel “ The Sun Also Rises” in 1926. A compelling novel, which was questioned by the firm at Scribner’s over Hemingway’s use of profanity in his writing. In 1929, “ A Farewell to Arms” which rose to number one on the best-seller list, put an end to the questions about Perkins editorial judgment. Maxwell Perkins greatest challenge began when he was introduced to Thomas Wolfe, Perkins knew his talent was great and helped him realize his potential. Wolfe continued Perkins triumph with the his release of “Look...
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