"West admirably and lucidly stalks an important theoretical point—the relationship between aesthetic and commercial factors in the production of serious American literature."—American LiteratureThis book examines literary authorship in the twentieth century and covers such topics as publishing, book distribution, the trade editor, the literary agent, the magazine market, subsidiary rights, and the blockbuster mentality.
"The first systematic, scholarly examination of authorship in our own time. . . . A valuable and stimulating book."—Library Quarterly
"An absorbing account of the mechanics and economics of American writing."—Encounter
"[West] bulids a convincing case for the way market forces shape a writer's career, subject matter, and narrative form."—Review in American Studies
Biographer, book historian, and scholarly editor, James L. W. West III is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University.