Swinnerton: An Autobiography

By Frank Swinnerton | Go to book overview

IV
SIX YEARS OF GROWTH

Publishing in 1901; 29 & 30 Bedford Street; Theatres and Parties of Pleasure; Chesterton--Shaw--Belloc; J. M. Dent; Everyman's Library; the Staff of Dents; Interesting Visitors; An Edition of Lamb; William Macdonald; the Author becomes a Novelist; Philip Lee Warner; I leave Dents.

PUBLISHING at the turn of the century was a very different business from what it is today. It was more leisurely, for one thing; and that means that it was less vehemently competitive. Literary agents were a new institution; authors were unpampered; royalties, when paid at all, were either microscopic or deferred. They were deferred until the costs of production were recovered, and they were microscopic afterwards. It is customary among publishers to speak of these as "the good old days"; but they were not so very good, and in 1900, when I had an interview with a famous bookseller of the period, "he painted" (these are my contemporary words) "a gloomy picture of the state of the publishing trade".

It was, indeed, half-dead. There were many moribund firms which presently disappeared, and there were others which had barely weathered their way into the new century. Only here and there some young men were rising into notice and some older men, wiser than their rivals, were keeping vigorously

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Swinnerton: An Autobiography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • By Frank Swinnerton *
  • Title Page *
  • Three Quotations by Way of Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • I - I Am Born 1
  • II - Early Days 23
  • III - From Fleet Street to the West End 40
  • IV - Six Years of Growth 53
  • V - Miracles 86
  • VI - My First Acquaintance with Authors 108
  • VII - Adventures in Publishing 122
  • VII - Arnold Bennett 135
  • IX - H. G. Wells 156
  • X - "Crucical" Years 173
  • XI - Some of My Elders 191
  • XII - Melange 227
  • XIV - Some of My Contemporaries 265
  • XV - The United States 315
  • XVI - What I Think About Life 339
  • Index 351
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