Thursday, January 8, 2009

Vale Richard Seaver

I didn't know publisher and translator Richard Seaver at all well, although I once sold him a book - a lesbian crime thriller in verse - after attending, in Chicago, I think, one of Arcade Publishing's celebrated Book Expo lunches.

Like many, however, I was saddened to read of his passing. Arcade Publishing, which Seaver founded with his wife Jeanette in 1988, is one of those companies that exists for the right reason - to publish new, original and interesting writing without fear. No doubt it's been a struggle financially to do this over 20 years, but thank goodness there are still publishers trying to do it.

Incidentally, Seaver's wife Jeanette appears to have finally outed him as 'Sabine d'Estrée,' the mysterious translator of that celebrated erotic work, The Story of O and its sequel. No doubt John de St Jorre is pleased the mystery is now over. He performed some fascinating detective work on the subject in his wonderful book about Maurice Girodias and the legendary Olympia Press, The Good Ship Venus (Venus Bound in the US).

'The relationship between Sabine d'Estrée and Dick Seaver was a loyal and lengthy one,' observed the canny St Jorre, who was responsible for unmasking the book's French author, Dominique Aury. 'When Seaver moved publishing house, so did Sabine. There is no trace of Sabine doing translations for anyone but Seaver.'

Pretty close, I'd say.

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