Cover image for Max & Marjorie : the correspondence between Maxwell E. Perkins and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Max & Marjorie : the correspondence between Maxwell E. Perkins and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Perkins, Maxwell E. (Maxwell Evarts), 1884-1947.
Publication Information:
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, [1999]

Physical Description:
xii, 628 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN149.9.P4 A4 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



"A treasure for anyone interested in how Max Perkins earned his reputation as the most gifted editor of all time by his sheer talent for friendship, encouragement, and sound judgment mixed with humor and tact. It equally reveals the grit and wit of his Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Their lively letters offer rare and engaging glimpses into the anatomy--and alchemy--of a bestseller and masterpiece."--Charles Scribner III

"What a pleasure to read such gracious, literate, intimate and affectionate correspondence between an editor and an author. This, one can't help feeling, is the way it ought to be."--Michael Korda, author of Another Life

"A wonderful illustration of the special relationship between author and editor that even today still lies at the heart of publishing. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was a strong and valiant character, a major talent with all the doubts and difficulties that go along with it. In Max Perkins she found a receptive spirit whose good counsel engendered confidence and abiding trust; over time, a deep friendship evolved. Watching the delicate, enduring organism of their partnership grow is both heartening and inspiring."--Jonathan Galassi, Farrar, Straus & Giroux

This compelling collection of letters brings together for the first time the entire known correspondence--nearly 700 letters, notes, and wires--of the preeminent 20th-century American editor and his Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

While the letters reveal an intimate portrait of the literary and personal friendship of Maxwell Perkins and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, they also constitute a remarkable history of the Scribner publishing house from 1930 to 1947, when Perkins died. Rawlings, awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1939 for The Yearling , was one of Scribner's stars in an era when publishing was difficult for women writers. Perkins was her champion, offering editorial opinion, a week-by-week critique of her work, and candid gossip about other writers he nurtured, most notably Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe.

Perkins and Rawlings brought magic to their correspondence. Though four years passed before they used each other's first name, their attraction was immediate and mutual: they shared a sense of humor, concerns about health, discreet details about their marriages, a weakness for the bottle, and, at times, agonizing fits of despair. She sent him oranges from her citrus grove in north central Florida; he mailed her a steady supply of the stimulating nonfiction she loved to read while writing novels.

Rawlings wrote not just to Perkins but for him. He responded--to both her life and her work--with wisdom, clarity, and generosity. The correspondence of these two superb letter writers presents an eloquent artifact of a rare literary partnership.

Rodger L. Tarr, University Distinguished Professor at Illinois State University, is the editor of Short Stories by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (UPF, 1994), Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings: A Descriptive Bibliography (Pittsburgh, 1996), and Poems by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings: Songs of a Housewife (UPF, 1997).

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Editor extraordinaire Maxwell Perkins was responsible for the success of Hemingway and Fitzgerald and figures prominently in Donaldson's analysis of the two writers. Perkins was also the guiding light for Rawlings, author of the Pulitzer Prize^-winning novel The Yearling. The reading public's fascination with Hemingway and Fitzgerald continues unabated, inspiring Donaldson, who has written biographies of both writers, to emulate Matthew J. Bruccoli, author of Fitzgerald and Hemingway (1994), and offer his interpretation of their complex relationship. Fluent in the lives and works of both men, Donaldson presents instructive comparisons of everything from Hemingway and Fitzgerald's shaky self-images to their relationships with women, experiences in 1920s Paris, drinking problems, and radically different styles of writing. Citing three stages of their rivalrous association--beginning with Fitzgerald's generous support of Hemingway, followed by a brief but genuine friendship, and ending with Hemingway's cruel condemnations--Donaldson contends that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the two writers did indeed influence each other in "demonstrable and important ways." Perkins' illuminating correspondence with Hemingway and Fitzgerald has been published, and now readers can track the path of his friendship with Rawlings and her evolution as a writer. Lovingly edited by Rawlings-expert Tarr, the nearly 700 letters between the gifted New York editor and the earthy Florida-based writer make for truly exciting reading. Perkins rescues Rawlings from rampant literary insecurity and offers such clear suggestions for shaping her manuscripts that his letters can serve as a correspondence course on novel writing. Rawlings regales him with stories of rural life, explaining at one point that the cracker family she was living with for research purposes expected her to help with their moonshine operation. At Perkins' instigation, Rawlings became friends with Fitzgerald and Hemingway, and she and Perkins traded many observations about their work as well as that of another Perkins' protege, Thomas Wolfe. This lively collection adds luster to Perkins' already stellar reputation and brings Rawlings, a tremendously popular yet strangely neglected writer, glowingly to life. --Donna Seaman

Library Journal Review

Maxwell Perkins was an obscure figure to the reading public until A. Scott Berg's Max Perkins: Editor of Genius (LJ 6/1/78) told the story of his heroic efforts in developing the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, and other important 20th-century writers. Here Tarr, a Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings scholar, publishes the entire correspondence between the editor and Rawlings, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Yearling. Some 698 letters, notes, and telegrams are annotated and set in chronological order, starting with Perkins's encouraging response to Rawlings's submission to a short story contest in 1930. These wonderful letters reveal the intricate working interplay between an author and editor and the unfolding of a personal friendship between two remarkable people. Additionally, the reader is treated to a first-person account of the workings of the legendary publisher Charles Scribner's Sons and candid gossip about Perkins's other authors. Perkins's immense correspondence has resulted in a number of fine books: Editor to Author: The Letters of Maxwell Perkins (Cherokee Pub., 1991), Dear Scott, Dear Max: The Fitzgerald-Perkins Correspondence (S. & S., 1991), and The Only Thing That Counts: The Ernest Hemingway/ Maxwell Perkins Correspondence 1925-1947 (LJ 10/1/96). This contribution is highly recommended for larger libraries collecting American literature.ÄPaul A. D'Alessandro, Portland P.L., ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.