A. Scott Berg's Max Perkins: Editor of Genius (NAL) is the biography of Maxwell Perkins, a long time Scribner editor who worked with the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe. Berg's book has been made into the movie, Genius, with a focus on the Perkins/ Wolfe relationship. Berg explains that Perkins changed what it meant to be an editor. Once the person whose primary job was to ready a book for typesetting, Perkins became intimate father figure, counselor, muse, and even financier to the deeply talented writers he both found, and who sought him out. By changing the involvement of the editor, Berg wonders if we haven't now raised a literary artistic question – are we making books better, or just different?
Photo: Larry Hirshowitz