Monday, September 20, 2010

The Insight of Maxwell Perkins

On this date in 1884, William Maxwell Evarts Perkins, better known as Maxwell Perkins, was born. He is probably one of the most famous literary editors who ever lived; he worked with Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe.

I found some wonderful quotes on the Famous Quotes and Authors site, attributed to the talented Mr. Maxwell, and I wanted to share them with you:

"Every good thing that comes is accompanied by trouble."

"Just get it down on paper, and then we'll see what to do with it."

"Anybody can find out if he is a writer. If he were a writer, when he tried to write of some particular day, he would find in the effort that he could recall exactly how the light fell and how the temperature felt, and all the quality of it. Most people cannot do it. If they can do it, they may never be successful in a pecuniary sense,

but that ability is at the bottom of writing, I am sure."

"I believe the writer... should always be the final judge. I have always held to that position and have sometimes seen books hurt thereby, but at least as often helped. The book belongs to the author."

"You have to throw yourself away when you write."

I'm sure that one or more of these resonates with you.

The beautiful Snapdragon Inn, located in Windsor, Vermont, was once owned by Maxwell Perkins. Looks like a lovely place to visit.

Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg, a 1978 National Book Award Winner, will be going on my TBR pile. The word is that Sean Penn is in talks to portray the famous Scribner editor, based on the Berg biography of Perkins.

Perkins died in 1947 at age 62.

Photo sources: North Carolina Historic Sites and The Snapdragon Inn.


  1. I never knew the Snapdragon Inn was owned by Maxwell Perkin. Great post, thank you. "The Only Thing That Counts" by Matthew Bruccoli is an amazing read if one is a Hemingway and/or Perkins fan.


  2. Hi Jennifer,
    Don't you love learning something new every day? I do! Thanks for the tip on the Bruccoli read ~ I will check into it as well.

  3. Good quotes. I like the one about remembering just how the light fell. Sometimes I can do taht, but it's more a "feeling" than a specific set of images.

  4. I like that one, too. I agree ~ it's more a "feeling."