Publishing legend Dick Seaver dies at 82

Liz Thomson
News - International 07 Jan 2009


Richard Seaver, one of the true legends of American publishing, has died aged 82. For the past two decades, he and his wife of 55 years, Jeannette, ran Arcade Publishing, whose mission was to publish new voices that 'seemingly flout the wisdom of the marketplace' (New York Times).

A Fulbright scholar who studied in Paris in the 1950s and wrote his dissertation on James Joyce, Seaver began his career at Grove Press in 1959, where he spent 12 years, becoming Editor-in-Chief. There he challenged taboos and society's mores with books by Henry Miller and William Burroughs and, famously, the pseudonymous Pauline Reage, author of The Story of O, about a woman who gives her body in slavery to a man. The author was later revealed to be French journalist and translator Dominique Aury. From Grove, he joined Viking, where he established his own imprint, and then Holt, Rinehart & Winston, of which he was President and Publisher. For those privileged to be invited, his Frankfurt dinner was the highlight of the Fair.

Among the authors Seaver published were Samuel Beckett,'D H Lawrence (Lady Chatterley was among the first books he took on at Grove), Octavio Paz and John Berger. A full tribute will follow shortly.

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