Tuesday, November 1, 2016


In brief: Over the course of his nearly-four-decade career with Charles Scriber’s Sons, Maxwell Perkins fought hard to bring the best works of Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway to the general public. Since the actual business of editing — during which Perkins casually marks up a Hemingway manuscript whose every word might be considered sacred today- is visually undramatic, Logan’s script focuses on the interpersonal dynamic between this literary gatekeeper and his greatest discovery, Wolfe . (Both Fitzgerald and Faulkner had been published before, whereas Wolfe, who’d been rejected by every company in town, was losing faith that his words “were worth a dime.”) Perkins was the representative of dogmas and prejudices of his time and milieu, and his life, as well as the art of his writers, poses the riddle of beautiful work embodying ugly ideas, of the private misdeeds of public achievers. The characters, literary works, and subjects of Genius are of enduring power.

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