Monday, November 29, 2004

Publishing's loss.

Legendary editor Cork Smith died. I've worked in book publishing in New York since 1991, and though I didn't know who he was at the time, it turns out he embodied the role of gentleman editor better than even my feeble imagination could envision. The notion of people like Smith, and the distant likelihood of working with such people, kept me in the industry long after any lingering literary dreams went up in a foul-smelling smoke, the source of which might well have been pulped reference books being torched by the ton. Smith acquired and edited Thomas Pynchon's first two books -- and acquired but left before editing Gravity's Rainbow -- and then look what happened -- which puts him in the pantheon as far as I'm concerned. I later worked for someone who worked for him, and by her accounts he was as swell a guy as this obit makes out.


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