[b] Required Reading for Booksellers

Allbooks at aol.com Allbooks at aol.com
Wed Sep 4 14:52:52 EDT 2002

Cerf was also the developer (though not the founder) of Modern Library as we 
know it.

Here is a gem from Cerf's book, on Joyce's ULYSSES: (p. 92)

"I came home and told Mr. Ernst that I had a signed agreement, for whatever 
it was worth--Joyce's approval that ours was to be the official edition of 
[Still illegal in the U. S.]

"...How were we to get into the court records the pieces that had been 
written about ULYSSES by men like Arnold Bennett, Ford Madox Ford, Edmund 
Wilson, Ezra Pound and other great men of the times....  So we took one of 
the Paris paperbound editions of ULYSSES and pasted in it every opinion we 
wanted to use--dozens of them in several languages.  ....  we got somebody to 
take it over to Europe and bring it back on the AQUITANIA, and had our agent 
down at the dock when it landed.  It was one of the hottest days in the 
history of New York.  The temperature on that dock must have been a hundred 
and twenty degrees, and the customs people wanted only one thing:  to get 
returning passengers off and get the hell out themselves.  ...  When our man 
arrived, the customs inspector started to stamp his suitcase without even 
looking at it.  Our agent, frantic, said, 'I insist that you open that bag 
and search it.'  The inspector looked at him as though he were an absolute 
lunatic, and said, 'It's too hot.'  

"' I think there's  something in there that's contraband,' our agent said, 
'and I insist that it be searched.'

"'So, furiously, the fellow had to open the suitcase.  And the agent said 
'Aha!' as he produced our copy of ULYSSES   .  The customs man said, 'Oh, for 
God's sake, everybody brings that in.  We don't pay any attention to it.'  
But the agent persisted, 'I demand that you seize this book.'

"After a short argument the customs inspector called over his chief and said, 
'This fellow want me to seize this book.'  Then the chief started to argue; 
he said that was ridiculous.  But our agent had his way.  He was right 
legally, and made them seize the book.  So when the case came up, that was 
the copy in evidence.  ...   [The judge] ruled that it was not obscene and 
could be admitted to the United States."





In a message dated 9/3/2002 11:53:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
d.klappholz at worldnet.att.net writes:

> At 11:20 PM 9/3/02 -0400, Back Creek Books wrote:
>  >Hi Larry,
>  >
>  >I happily second your opinion. I read it for the first time a few months 
> ago
>  >and thought it was terrific. That's where I found out that Rockwell Kent
>  >drew the original "random house" for the fledgling company's logo.
>  >
>  >Of course for my money the best ever bookselling book is still Charlie
>  >Everitt's "The Adventures of a Treasure Hunter."
>  The stories are great, but, according to others who were around at the 
>  time, many are gross exaggerations and outright lies.
>  On the book collecting front...and a bookseller might just want to 
>  understand the mentality of a collector...nothing, IMNVHO, beats A. Edward 
>  Newton's books of essays.
>  Dave
>  BTW, Cerf, whose reminiscences I read long ago, had the good sense to 
>  re-publish Newton's Amenities of Book Collecting as a Modern Library 
> offering.
>  >If you're feeling down
>  >about the trade just pull that one out and re-read it. Guaranteed to
>  >rejuvenate you.
>  >
>  >Best Regards,
>  >
>  >Rock
>  >Back Creek Books
>  >--


Don Ramsey  
ALL BOOKS CONSIDERED   <A HREF="www.AllBooksConsidered.com">
10408 Montgomery Ave., Kensington MD 20895 
(301) 929-0036

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