|Parent company||Random House|
|Founders||Albert Boni, Horace Liveright|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||New York City, New York|
|Official website|| modernlibrary|
The Modern Library is an American book publishing imprint and formerly the parent company of Random House. Founded in 1917 by Albert Boni and Horace Liveright as an imprint of their publishing company Boni & Liveright, Modern Library became an independent publishing company in 1925 when Boni & Liveright sold it to Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. Random House began in 1927 as a subsidiary of the Modern Library and eventually overtook its parent company, with Modern Library becoming an imprint of Random House.
The Modern Library originally published only hardbound books.In 1950, it began publishing the Modern Library College Editions, a forerunner of its current series of paperback classics. From 1955 to 1960, the company published a high quality, numbered paperback series, but discontinued it in 1960, when the series was merged into the newly acquired Vintage paperbacks group. The Modern Library homepage states:
In 1992, on the occasion of the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House embarked on an ambitious project to refurbish the series. We revived the torchbearer emblem that Cerf and Klopfer commissioned in 1925 from Lucian Bernhard. The Promethean bearer of enlightenment (known informally around the old Modern Library offices as the "dame running away from Bennett Cerf") was redesigned several times over the years, most notably by Rockwell Kent.
In 1998, novelist David Ebershoff became the Modern Library's new Publishing Director. Ebershoff managed the imprint until 2005, when he resigned to concentrate on his own writing and to become editor-at-large at Random House.
In September 2000, the Modern Library initiated a newly designed Paperback Classics series. Six new titles are published in the series on the second Tuesday of each month.[ citation needed ]
At its onset the Modern Library identified itself as "The Modern Library of the World's Best Books". In keeping with that brand identity, in 1998 the editors created a list they called the "Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels", numbering 100 titles. They also conducted an internet poll of public opinion, then produced a readers' list. (The lists were actually restricted to works in English, but titles of the lists do not represent this, and little attention was paid to that fact in publicity for the lists.)
The "top ten" of the editors' list is shown here—and the two "100 Best Novels" lists are linked below.
According to a New York Times article about the list, executives at Random House said they hoped that as the century drew to a close their list would encourage public debate about the greatest works of fiction of the last hundred years, thus both increasing awareness of the Modern Library and stimulating sales of novels the group publishes.
Both lists have incurred criticism. Their ranking system concerned many professional scholars and critics. The board members themselves, who did not create the rankings and were unaware of it until the list was published, expressed disappointment and puzzlement. [ citation needed ] There were also hypotheses that the Modern Library merely made a selection based on its stocklist. A. S. Byatt, the well-known English novelist who was on the board, called the list "typically American".There are only eight or nine women on the list, some very influential works are ranked below works of questionable literary merit, and the works of major writers from many English-speaking countries apart from the United States and England—such as Australia, Canada, India, and South Africa—have been ignored.
The list was compiled via approval voting, by sending each board member a list of 440 pre-selected books from the Modern Library catalogue and asking each member to place a check beside novels they wished to choose. Then the works with the most votes were ranked the highest, and ties were decided arbitrarily by Random House publishers. This explains surprising results like the No. 5 placement of Brave New World (1932), which most of the judges agreed belonged somewhere on the list, but much lower than the very top.
David Ebershoff, the Modern Library division's publishing director, stated in a follow-up "the people who were drawn to go to the Modern Library Web site and compelled to vote have a certain enthusiasm about books and their favourite books that many people don't, so that the voting population is skewed."In addition, people were allowed to vote repeatedly, once per day, making the poll a measure of how much effort people would put into promoting their favorite books. Others have been more direct in their descriptions of the results; librarian Robert Teeter remarks that the ballot boxes were "stuffed by cultists".
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A paperback, also known as a softcover or softback, is a type of book characterized by a thick paper or paperboard cover, and often held together with glue rather than stitches or staples. In contrast, hardcover or hardback books are bound with cardboard covered with cloth, plastic, or leather. The pages on the inside of a paperback are made of paper.
Bennett Alfred Cerf was an American publisher and co-founder of the American publishing firm Random House. Cerf was also known for his own compilations of jokes and puns, for regular personal appearances lecturing across the United States, and for his weekly television appearances for over 17 years on the panel game show What's My Line?
Penguin Books is a British publishing house. It was co-founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane with his brothers Richard and John, as a line of the publishers The Bodley Head, only becoming a separate company the following year. Penguin revolutionised publishing in the 1930s through its inexpensive paperbacks, sold through Woolworths and other high street stores for sixpence, bringing high-quality fiction and non-fiction to the mass market. Its success showed that large audiences existed for serious books. It also had a significant impact on public debate in Britain through its books on culture, politics, the arts, and science.
Everyman's Library is a series of reprints of classic literature, primarily from the Western canon. It is currently published in hardback by Random House. It was originally an imprint of J. M. Dent, who continue to publish Everyman Paperbacks.
Hutchinson was a British publishing firm which operated from 1887 until 1985, when it underwent several mergers. It is currently an imprint which is ultimately owned by Bertelsmann, the German publishing conglomerate.
Jonathan Cape is a London publishing firm founded in 1921 by Herbert Jonathan Cape, who was head of the firm until his death in 1960.
Berkley Books is an imprint of the Penguin Group.
Target Books was a British publishing imprint, established in 1973 by Universal-Tandem Publishing Co Ltd, a paperback publishing company. The imprint was established as a children's imprint to complement the adult Tandem imprint, and became well known for their highly successful range of novelisations and other assorted books based on the popular science fiction television series Doctor Who. Their first publications based on the serial were reprints in paperback of three novels which had been previously published as hardbacks: Doctor Who and the Daleks and Doctor Who and the Crusaders by David Whitaker, and Doctor Who and the Zarbi by Bill Strutton. As these sold well further novelisations of the show were commissioned. In 1975 Universal-Tandem was sold by its American owners, the Universal-Award group, to the British conglomerate Howard and Wyndham. The company was renamed Tandem Publishing Ltd before being merged with the paperback imprints of Howard and Wyndham's general publishing house W. H. Allen Ltd to become Wyndham Publications Ltd in 1976. However, during 1977 and 1978 the Wyndham identity was phased out and, until 1990, Target books were published by 'the paperback division of WH Allen & Co'.
E. P. Dutton was an American book publishing company. It was founded as a book retailer in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1852 by Edward Payson Dutton.
The New American Library is an American publisher based in New York, founded in 1948. Its initial focus was affordable paperback reprints of classics and scholarly works as well as popular and pulp fiction, but it now publishes trade and hardcover titles. It is currently an imprint of Penguin Random House; it was announced in 2015 that the imprint would publish only nonfiction titles.
Bantam Books is an American publishing house owned entirely by parent company Random House, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House; it is an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group. It was formed in 1945 by Walter B. Pitkin, Jr., Sidney B. Kramer, and Ian and Betty Ballantine, with funding from Grosset & Dunlap and Curtis Publishing Company. It has since been purchased several times by companies including National General, Carl Lindner's American Financial and, most recently, Bertelsmann; it became part of Random House in 1998, when Bertelsmann purchased it to form Bantam Doubleday Dell. It began as a mass market publisher, mostly of reprints of hardcover books, with some original paperbacks as well. It expanded into both trade paperback and hardcover books, including original works, often reprinted in house as mass-market editions.
David Ebershoff is an American writer, editor, and teacher. His debut novel, The Danish Girl, was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film of the same name in 2015, while his third novel, The 19th Wife, was adapted into a television movie of the same name in 2010.
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Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd, often shortened to W&N or Weidenfeld, is a British publisher of fiction and reference books. It has been a division of the French-owned Orion Publishing Group since 1991.
Horace Brisbin Liveright was an American publisher and stage producer. With Albert Boni, he founded the Modern Library and Boni & Liveright publishers. He published the books of numerous influential American and British authors. Turning to theatre, he produced the successful 1927 Broadway play Dracula, with Béla Lugosi and Edward Van Sloan in the roles they would make famous in the 1931 film by the same name.
Boni & Liveright is an American trade book publisher established in 1917 in New York City by Albert Boni and Horace Liveright. Over the next sixteen years the firm, which changed its name to Horace Liveright, Inc., in 1928 and then Liveright, Inc., in 1931, published over a thousand books. Before its bankruptcy in 1933 and subsequent reorganization as Liveright Publishing Corporation, Inc., it had achieved considerable notoriety for editorial acumen, brash marketing, and challenge to contemporary obscenity and censorship laws. Their logo is of a cowled monk.
Albert Boni was co-founder of the publishing company Boni & Liveright and a pioneering publisher in paperbacks and book clubs.
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Donald Simon Klopfer was an American publisher, one of the founders of American publishing firm Random House, along with Bennett Cerf. Klopfer was the quiet inside businessman to Cerf's quite-visible and gregarious "Mr. Outside" personality.