dimanche 30 octobre 2011

Edith Wharton, HUDSON RIVER BRACKETED, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929, 536 pages.

“And now about the next novel,” he said, a ring of possessorship in his voice. The terms proposed (a third in advance, if Mr. Weston chose) made Vance’s blood drum in his ears; but there was a change of tone when he began to outline Loot. A big novel of modern New York? What — another? Tempting subject, yes — tremendous canvas — but there’d been so many of them! The public was fed up with skyscrapers and niggers and bootleggers and actresses. Fed up equally with Harlem and with the opera, with Greenwich Village and the plutocrats. What they wanted was something refined — something to appeal to the heart. Couldn’t Mr. Weston see that by the way his own book had been received? Why not follow up the success of Instead by another novel just like it? The quaintness of the story — so to speak — had taken everybody’s fancy. Why not leave the New York show to fellows like Fynes, and the new man Gratz Blemer, who couldn’t either of them do anything else, didn’t even suspect there was anything else to do? This Gratz Blemer: taking three hundred thousand words to tell the story of a streetwalker and a bootblack, and then calling it This Globe! Why, you could get round the real globe nowadays a good deal quicker than you could dig your way through that book! No, no, the publisher said — if Mr. Weston would just listen to him, and rely on his long experience . . . Well, would he think it over, anyhow? A book just like Instead, only about forty thousand words longer. If Instead had a blemish, it was being what the dry-goods stores called an “outsize”; the public did like to get what they were used to. . . . And if a novelist had had the luck to hit on something new that they took a shine to, it was sheer suicide not to give them more of it. . . .
(p. 398)

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