Just acquired (from Peter Ellis, [listen to The Biblio File interview here]) a lovely addition to my collection of publisher’s memoirs/histories: a signed (to his daughter) copy of Author Hunting: Memories of an Old Literary Sportsman, by Grant Richards.
It contains this quote from a letter written by Bernard Shaw to the Author in May, 1934:
"…you should call your book The Tragedy of a Publisher who Allowed himself to Fall in Love with Literature. The Publisher who does that, like the picture dealer who likes pictures, or the schoolmistress who gets fond of her pupils, is foredoomed. A certain connoisseurship in the public taste is indispensable; but the slightest uncommercial bias in choosing between say, Bridges’ ‘Testament of Beauty,’ and the telephone directory is fatal…"