Every so often, we get letters that are worth publishing here and sharing with you all. Here's a missive I received yesterday from Rabbi David Wolpe of Los Angeles' Sinai Temple:
With two quotes I am prepared to answer all those, especially bloggers, who constantly lament the state of publishing, but lack any sort of historical perspective. The first is from the latest NYRB, from Elliot Weinberger's review of James Laughlin's memoir:
"In the 1940s and 1950s -- it seems unimaginable now -- he rescued from oblivion The Great Gatsby, Light in August and books by Forster, Conrad, Evelyn Waugh, Henry James, Nathaniel West, Djuna Barnes, Joyce, Lawrence, Stendahl and Flaubert."
So those who lament because of the computer and the superstore remind me of the the university's official bookseller, Maitre Andry Musnier in Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame: "I tell you Monsieur, it's the end of the world. The students behavior has never been more outrageous. It is all these damnable modern inventions that are the ruin of everything. Artillery, sepentines, bombards and especially printing, that other plague from Germany. Its the end of manuscripts, the end of books! Printing is killing off the book trade. The end of the world is at hand!"
Should you choose to post this, I'd be delighted. It is really enough; we should feel enormous gratitude that more is available now than ever before in history. Will some good things be overlooked? Of course. But at times the insistence on perfection is the enemy of excellence
Rabbi David Wolpe