Max Perkins . . . was famous for his ability to inspire an author to produce the best that was in him or her. More a friend to his authors than a taskmaster, he aided them in every way. He helped them structure their books, if help was needed; thought up titles, invented plots; he served as psychoanalyst, lovelorn adviser, marriage counselor, career manager, money-lender. Few editors before him had done so much work on manuscripts, yet he was always faithful to his credo, “The book belongs to the author.”
(A. Scott Berg, Max Perkins: Editor of Genius. E.P. Dutton, 1978)
I don’t know all that much about Maxwell E. Perkins. I do know that Scott Fitzgerald liked him very much and encouraged EMH to send his manuscript for The Sun Also Rises to Perkins at Scribner‘s. Hemingway liked Perkins very much and they worked together on EMH’s books until Perkins died in 1947. Perkins also edited books for Thomas Wolfe, Marjorie Rawlins, and Ring Lardner.
Later this year a movie entitled Genius starring Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Dominic West and Guy Pearce will premier based on the Berg biography. The film emphasizes Perkins dealings and closeness with Thomas Wolfe, but Dominic West portrays Hemingway as does Guy Pearce Fitzgerald.
Trailer for Genius:
I enjoyed seeing where Scribner’s was in NYC: