Robert Giroux, a literary lion and the only surviving namesake of fabled publishing house Farrar, Straus & Giroux, has died (“Robert Giroux, Editor, Publisher and Nurturer of Literary Giants, Is Dead at 94,” by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times). They sure don’t make ’em like they used to, and publishing sure ain’t like it used to be, either.
The obituary has a nice little kicker at the end. Giroux, of course, was primarily an editor, but he wrote a couple of books, too:
His ambition to write might have prompted an exchange with Eliot, then in his late 50s, on the day they met in 1946, when Mr. Giroux, “just past 30,” as he recalled the moment in “The Oxford Book of Literary Anecdotes,” was an editor at Harcourt, Brace. “His most memorable remark of the day,” Mr. Giroux said, “occurred when I asked him if he agreed with the definition that most editors are failed writers, and he replied, ‘Perhaps, but so are most writers.’ ”