Culture and Commerce at a Postwar Publisher View Full Text


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Article Info

DATE

2018-12

AUTHORS

Rafael Chaiken

ABSTRACT

The tension between commerce and culture has long been recognized as characteristic of the publishing industry. Publishers seek to put forth quality works of cultural significance yet are constrained by the need to earn a profit. This article is a case study of how this conflict played out at a postwar New York City company, Storm Publishers. Storm was a one-person operation run by Alexander Gode-von Aesch, a German immigrant best known for his work as a linguist and translator. Gode founded the company in 1947 to publish The End Is Not Yet, a pacifist novel by the German playwright Fritz von Unruh. Storm went on to publish a diverse array of scholarly and trade books until it was dissolved in 1958. The article analyzes how Gode pursued a number of strategies—relying on personal connections, developing relationships with celebrities, purchasing advertisements, soliciting reviews, cutting costs, generating subsidiary rights income, and sheer tenacity and audacity—in order to compete with larger and more established Manhattan publishers. It argues Gode harbored a contradictory attitude toward the culture–commerce dichotomy, asserting that his aim was to distribute quality works that could not make a profit while at the same time publishing books aimed at bolstering his balance sheet and lamenting others’ lack of sales. As the first history of Storm Publishers, the article sheds light on the midcentury New York publishing industry and how a small firm sought to claim a place in the postwar intellectual economy. More... »

PAGES

1-19

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1007/s12109-018-9613-0

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12109-018-9613-0

DIMENSIONS

https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1107989466


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