Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Maurice Sendak on publishing: “Outrageously stupid”

The Believer has published a candid interview with the late writer and illustrator

(Credit: AP)

Maurice Sendak was known not just as a literary icon, but as a larger-than-life curmudgeon who refused “to cater to the bullshit of innocence.” The Believer has published a contemplative but hilarious interview with the “Where the Wild Things Are” writer and illustrator, who died last May, in which he opens up about childhood, literature, old age and more.
Sendak on why publishing has become “an outrageously stupid profession”:
MS: Well, nobody knows what they’re doing. I wonder if that’s always been true. I think being old is very fortunate right now. I want to get out of this as soon as possible. It’s terrible. And the great days in the 1950s and after the war, when publishing children’s books was youthful and fun… it really was. It’s not just looking back and pretending that it was good. It was good. And now it’s just stupid.
BLVR: Why?
MS: Because of Rupert Murdoch. His name should be what everything is called now.
BLVR: But he publishes you!
MS: Yes! HarperCollins. He owns Harpers. I guess the rest of the world, too. He represents how bad things have become.
On e-books:
MS: I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of book. A book is a book is a book. I know that’s terribly old-fashioned. I’m old, and when I’m gone they’ll probably try to make my books on all these things, but I’m going to fight it like hell. [Pauses] I can’t believe I’ve turned into a typical old man. I can’t believe it. I was young just minutes ago.
On Roald Dahl:
BLVR: It’s the same in Roald Dahl.
MS: I read as little of him as I could get away with. He’s cruel. The cruelty in his books is off-putting. Scary guy. I know he’s very popular. But I loved his wife, who was a great actress and a beautiful woman, and he treated her abominably. What’s nice about this guy?

Full interview at Salon 

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