Success Story: The Life and Times of S. S. McClure

Success Story: The Life and Times of S. S. McClure

Success Story: The Life and Times of S. S. McClure

Success Story: The Life and Times of S. S. McClure

Excerpt

This book is about an extraordinary editor. His vision and energy turned the literary, social, and political fabric of his own time inside out; the reach of his innovations still affects us all today; yet he has been forgotten.

S. S. McClure revolutionized American journalism by introducing syndicated material to metropolitan newspapers. He invented the Sunday supplement. He brought Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Conan Doyle, and Joseph Conrad to the attention of American readers, and so helped to make their fortunes. He created a vast new readership for serious literature (and for bilge, as well). He published and edited the first and best of the cheap American magazines. He was the first to print stories by O. Henry, Damon Runyon, Booth Tarkington, and a dozen others, and the first to bring Willa Cather, Stephen Crane, Jack London, and Frank Norris to national acclaim. The so-called muckrakers--Samuel Hopkins Adams, Ray Stannard Baker, Lincoln Steffens, Ida Tarbell, George Kibbe Turner, and others--wrote much of what they wrote at his direction and were in turn responsible for much of the remedial and progressive legislation in the years before the War of 1914-1918.

In his time, McClure was accounted a genius. The word keeps bobbing up in the letters, conversations, and memoirs of his contemporaries. It is hung round his neck, as accolade or albatross, by quite different sorts of people--by Rudyard Kipling and Willa Cather, by William Allen White and Ida Tarbell, by Ellery Sedgwick and Will Irwin, by Ray Stannard Baker and Samuel Hopkins Adams, by the English critic William Archer and the American editor E. S. Martin, and by several others whose opinion deserves respect.

Was McClure in fact a genius? The term must be defined. Of the many definitions--lexicographical, inspirational, monitory, or otherwise informed . . .

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