Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Birthday Book of the Day: Director Garson Kanin's memoir of the writer Somerset Maugham, 1st ed., inscribed to Hollywood producer Robert Evans


Kanin, Garson, Remembering Mr. Maugham (Athenaeum, 1st ed., 1966). LOC 66-23574.

The celebrated American playwright/director Garson Kanin- born today in 1912-penned his memories of British writer W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965), the most famous short story writer of the 20th century (for the audio of a 1967 Kanin talk about the book, click here).

Kanin (1912-1999) was a writer and director for stage and screen; with his wife, actress Ruth Gordon (1896-1985) he produced such memorable Tracy-Hepburn classics as Adam’s Rib (1949) and Pat and Mike (1952). Kanin wrote the smash hit Born Yesterday (1946) and directed Barbra Streisand’s Broadway debut in Funny Girl (1964).

Kanin met Maugham in 1935 and they remained friends the rest of Maugham’s very long life. Kanin turned the book into a two man, one-act play that is still performed. Selina Hastings, writing in The Washington Post’s Book World, called Remembering Mr. Maugham “delightfully Boswellian.”

Kanin's book, published the year after Maugham died at 90, presents the public side of the great British author. Subsequent biographies and family memoirs showed the author to have been The Picture of Dorian Gray come to life.

Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, clear mylar cover, good condition, inscribed to film producer Robert Evans. Evans produced Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and Harold and Maude (1971), both star vehicles for Gordon. Very nice association copy. HBB price: $200 obo.

(This book is not to be confused with the University of Southern California Friends of the Libraries’ 1966 privately printed transcript of an evening of memories and stories of working with W. Somerset Maugham by his friends and co-workers, Ruth Gordon, Clare Booth Luce, George Cukor, Garson Kanin, and Aerol Arnold, under the same title).


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