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« "Intellect, anxiety, philosophy, history, art": Rachel Abramowitz and Tina Cane in Conversation [by Kristina Marie Darling] | Main | Poet Spotlight: Shane McCrae [by Kristina Marie Darling] »

August 03, 2022


Appalling behavior on the part of Yale University Press.

Thanks, David, for calling out Yale on this. And the misdirection of Guantanamo prisoners equated with Dreyfus, Pearl, et al.

Just checking, as someone who hasn't seen this book: You call out its preface, some of its opening chapter, and its coda for what is, apparently, a specious analogy between the French army's treatment of Dreyfus and the Bush Administration's treatment of the prisoners at Gitmo. Are you critiquing the author, Louis Begley, and using Yale UP as a stand-in for him, or are you critiquing both Begley for writing the book that way and the press for publishing it? If the latter is the case, David, what would you do if you were running the press, had assigned the book to Begley (whose background is appropriate to the topic), and then were faced with the manuscript as he turned it in? Would you refuse to publish it, ask him to change it, or publish it as it was? Also, university press books are peer-reviewed. What happens if an authority serving as peer reviewer made an impassioned case for including the analogy above? I don't have a right answer; I'm perplexed myself as to the ethics of the sitch and should welcome your thoughts.

Mindy, in my piece (which we originally posted in September 2009), I praised Louis Begley, who "writes well and is a good guide to one of modern history's great tragic causes celebres, the court-martial of French artillery Captain Alfred Dreyfus." I do not fault Yale UP for publishing this "cogent little book." I fault the author for the politically orthodox but silly note that marred the preface. The striving for relevance, which distorts the truth, is reflected in the jacket copy, i.e., as part of a sales pitch. I fault Yale UP for deleting the cartoons from a different book the press published, "The Cartoons That Shook the World" by Jytte Klausen. Omitting the cartoons gave the lie to the title of the book.

Who at Yale UP made the craven decision to erxclude the cartoons? It is rumored that Fareer Zakaria was on the board and voted in favor of censorship.

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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