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Having a principled background


Following in the footsteps of Joseph Conrad
Peter Mayer Publisher
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I was reading Nostromo and Lord Jim at that time, and I don't know any longer… it's very hard to find romance in Lord Jim, it's a rather tough moral story, but I was seeking to find romance in Conrad's own experiences of what he was writing about, if not the heart of the story, and Nostromo, which is a story about revolution and civil upset in, I think, Central America somewhere, is not exactly what I was pining for.  But it was something about Conrad and the sea, and maybe just by accident I was reading those books at that time.  I don't know.  But I thought I was a pretty romantic guy for going to sea. I could have had some miserable job in New York to earn some money for my keep, but there was a good thing about the Merchant Marine: they gave you food and board on these ships!  And so what little they paid you, and it was very little, you could save it.  So there were some attractions, and you could see the world, but I only took, I think two or three trips with the Merchant Marine before I jumped ship in Barcelona.

Peter Mayer (1936-2018) was an American independent publisher who was president of The Overlook Press/Peter Mayer Publishers, Inc, a New York-based publishing company he founded with his father in 1971. At the time of Overlook's founding, Mayer was head of Avon Books, a large New York-based paperback publisher. There, he successfully launched the trade paperback as a viable alternative to mass market and hardcover formats. From 1978 to 1996 he was CEO of Penguin Books, where he introduced a flexible style in editorial, marketing, and production. More recently, Mayer had financially revived both Ardis, a publisher of Russian literature in English, and Duckworth, an independent publishing house in the UK.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Nostromo, Joseph Conradt

Duration: 1 minute, 31 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2014-January 2015

Date story went live: 12 November 2015