Saturday, September 1, 2012

More on the search for an Illuminatus! editor

Well, I still don't know the name of the editor who bought Illuminatus!, my posting topic a couple of days ago, but I've coaxed a couple of good jokes out of Arthur Hlavaty. Linking to my post at his Supergee blog, he wrote, "I think it's incredibly appropriate that we can't find the editor who originally bought Illuminatus!"

In a comment to my post, he wrote, "At around the time the manuscript arrived, someone brought in a coffee  urn." (It's a reference to  the coffee urn is how Markoff Chaney is smuggled around in Illuminatus!; example here.)

Commenting on the Larry Shaw piece reprinted yesterday, Michael Johnson remarks that if Shaw had played a role in getting Illuminatus! published, it's odd that Shea  never mentions it in his essay. Fair enough, and this leads me to an observation: Whichever editor bought the work played a huge role in the writing careers of Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. Shouldn't they have written, somewhere, "I'll always be grateful that Joe Schlabotnick at Dell took a chance on us when we were unknowns by buying Illuminatus!" Have I just missed it?


michael said...

I know I have missed it. RAW, in talking/writing about the publishing history of Illuminatus! mostly uses a locution like this: "The people at Dell..."

RAW was a lot like Pound here: he held publishers (and others who would seek to alter his words, like editors!) with contempt. Pound eventually had James Laughlin, fer cryin' out loud! Nary the encomium for Laughlin in Ez's later work.

I think RAW's attitude toward potential handlers of his work really hurt him, because he answered that Falcon/New Falcon let him publish what he wanted. But he did need at least a pro proofreader (the Falcon stuff seems riddled with typos and RAW often gets names wrong); but the worst thing about NF was their poor distribution and they spent, it seems, ZERO on promotion.

I had long held out hope that RAW had kept a secret stash of his correspondence; when I asked him if he had that he said no. NOW: he could've been paranoid about THAT, too, if we only take into account what the FBI did with Michael Horowitz when they wanted Leary's papers.

But this is conjecture.

As for now, I'll consider Joe Schlabotnick as the guy who worked at Dell and talked the brass into publishing it. Someone said he was "cute."

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