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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thinking with another person's mind


“Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own.” – Charles Scribner, Jr.

Born on this date in 1921 Charles Scribner Jr. succeeded his father in 1952 as chief of the family publishing house, which had been founded by his great-grandfather in 1846. Charles Scribner Jr. oversaw its operations until 1984, when Macmillan, another American publishing company, acquired it. 

He also was Ernest Hemingway's personal editor and publisher in the last portion of Hemingway's career. "He once gave me some rules of life," Scribner recalled.  "Among them: 'Always do sober what you said you'd do when you were drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut!'" 

Scribner once said he would rather have gone into teaching but felt the obligation of continuing his family’s legacy.  He is noted for streamlining and diversifying the company, including adding a successful line of reference books.  He felt that despite its successes with such famous authors as Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe and James Jones, it was too top-heavy with novels. 


His own volume of memoirs, In the Company of Writers: A Life in Publishing, is a wonderful primer on the ins and outs of the publishing world.  
  “Language is the soul of intellect,” Scribner wrote,  “and reading is the essential process by which that intellect is cultivated beyond the commonplace experiences of everyday life.”


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