Posts Tagged ‘2011 Spring Revel’
June 22, 2015 | by The Paris Review
We were sad to learn that James Salter died on Friday at ninety. “He once called himself a ‘frotteur,’ saying he liked to rub words between his fingers,” Louisa Thomas wrote today in Grantland. “He wrote for the ear, not the eye, in lines that are long and unspooling or short and taut as bowstrings … It is in their quiet accumulation, the way they weave together, that they become transparent, graceful, and devastating.”
Salter had a long affiliation with The Paris Review; the quarterly published many of his stories, beginning with “Sundays”, which appeared in our Summer 1966 issue. George Plimpton published Salter’s novel A Sport and a Pastime through Paris Review Editions, a short-lived imprint attached to Doubleday. “Although I have never managed to appear on the masthead, which has innumerable people on it,” Salter said in his 1993 Art of Fiction interview, “I feel I am a member of the family.”
In 2011, we awarded Salter our Hadada Prize, given annually to a “distinguished member of the literary community who has demonstrated a strong and unique commitment to literature.” This week, to celebrate and remember him, the Daily will rerun a series of pieces about him written in anticipation of that award. To begin, we’re reprinting his acceptance speech, given April 12, 2011.
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April 13, 2011 | by James Salter
Well of course I knew this was going to happen. Terry McDonell called me and he said, “We would like to give you the Hadada this year,” and I said, “Terry, it might be a better idea to give it to somebody a little younger.” He said, “No, no, no, no, you are missing the point entirely.” It turns out that in the African language from which the word comes, hadada means “Hail, great father.” Ha-da-da.
The Paris Review was always the pinnacle, it was the place to be published, you were thrilled if you were published in The Paris Review, and George Plimpton himself was practically mythical. He was a legendary figure.
I had written a novel. It was A Sport and a Pastime. And it had been turned down by publishers, four or five of them, and I thought I was probably wrong about it, it was not really any good. And then, through a friend, Bill Becker, it came to The Paris Review. One day the phone rang, and I said “Hello.” And a voice said, “Yes, hello, this is George Plimpton.” He said, “You know, I have your novel, and I really like it, I like it very much. We’d like to publish it.” At that time, The Paris Review had a small book publishing operation, they had published a handful of books. He said, “We’d like to publish it.” I said, “That’s wonderful.” He said, “Yes. But there is just one thing.” “Yes.” He said, “I don’t think that any really good novels are written in the first person.” Of course, my mind went blank. I couldn’t think of anything. I didn’t know what to say to him except, suddenly it occurred to me, a book really far removed from the book we were talking about, that was the only thing I could think of, I said, “Well, what about All Quiet on the Western Front,” and he said, “Yes, I suppose you’re right.” That was the end of the editing.
April 13, 2011 | by Robert Redford
A transcript of last night’s speech.
When I walked in, a woman came up with a little recorder and she said, “I am really sorry, but can I have a word with you?” And I assumed she was part of the program and so I said—I wanted to be helpful—so I said, “Sure.” And she said, “Just a few words, I just want to talk about [he mumbles into his hand].” And I said, “I’m sorry?” I thought she was saying something important, and I said, “What?” And she said, [he mumbles into his hand], and I said, “I’m really sorry,” and she said, “What do you think about Trump and Huckabee?” And I said, “I don’t know. I don’t know.” I was so surprised. And she says, “Now, what do you think about Trump running for president?” And I said, “I have absolutely no thought.”
I am happy to say that the reason I am here and that you are all here is such a good one, because I am here to dedicate an award to a man who is so deserving of it, and for me to see him come to this place in his life—his life has been so rich and full and varied in so many interesting ways—is truly an honor. And I guess some writers can write and be really flashy and just score big on their first work, and then maybe they fade away after that, maybe that was too much too soon, and other writers just build an aggregate over the years, and they just grind and they develop and they work and they grow, and they grow with time—they were always good, they stayed true to form, true to themselves, true to the form that they developed for themselves. And then they rise up to that point of shining light and that is where Jim is, so I am really happy to be here to support him and his family.
April 13, 2011 | by Thessaly La Force
Last night, close to five hundred people gathered at Cipriani’s 42nd Street to honor James Salter at our Spring Revel. Robert Redford was there to present the Hadada Prize to Salter. The two have known each other since the sixties, when Salter wrote the screenplay for Downhill Racer. Said Redford at the podium, “I am lucky to be here tonight to honor a man who is my friend and whom I respect deeply.” As Salter took the stage, guests at every table stood up, applauding the author. Salter thanked George Plimpton for publishing his novel A Sport and a Pastime, and as he picked up the statuette he told the crowd, “This is my Stockholm.”