The Lady With The Borzoi:

Blanche Knopf

Coming in April 2016 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

“Although it carries the name Alfred A. Knopf, the prestigious publishing house founded in New York City in 1915 would not exist if it weren’t for Blanche Knopf. Claridge is the first to bring Blanche Wolf Knopf fully out of the shadows in this meticulous, groundbreaking biography. Blanche and Alfred agreed to be equal partners as publishers, but a shared love of literature did not foster a happy marriage or felicitous working relationship, causing Blanche perpetual anguish as Alfred failed to acknowledge her essential role in the company until her final years. Nonetheless, she persevered, becoming a powerful literary force by virtue of her zeal, acumen, extraordinary prescience, impeccable taste, magnanimous sociability, and stoicism. Buoyed by her close friends and advisers, H. L. Mencken and Carl Van Vechten, Blanche signed epoch-defining writers, including Willa Cather, Thomas Mann, Langston Hughes, Wallace Stevens, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler. Blanche knew everyone, loved to party, had many affairs, traveled often to Europe, and crisscrossed South America during WWII, discovering authors and gathering intelligence about Nazi sympathizers for the State Department. Concealing her sorrows and the misogynist injustices she endured, Blanche worked relentlessly, achieved mightily, and ultimately destroyed her health. Claridge illuminates a radiant facet of American publishing and women’s history as she portrays Blanche Knopf in all her brainy and aesthetic glory and elegant fortitude.” — Donna

“Claridge’s lucid and sympathetic portrait of an unconventional and path breaking woman mired in a marriage that left her emotionally bereft but professionally empowered, will resonate with any reader who, like Blanche Knopf, has ever found salvation in books.” —Emily Bingham, author of Irrepressible

“At turns reviled and adored, fragile and invincible, free and shackled, Blanche Knopf was often denied credit for the success of the publishing firm she founded with her husband, and that bears his name alone. With a winning eye to detail, with empathy and wit, Laura Claridge gives Blanche Knopf her hard-earned seat at the high table of literary modernism.” —Alice Kaplan, author of Dreaming in French

“Blanche Knopf emerges as a revelation in this first biography: Elegant, highly strung, unappreciated and lonely in her marriage, she was a brilliant editor, a writer’s best reader, and essential to the creation of the great house of Knopf. No Blanche, no Knopf.” —Dorothy Gallagher, author of Lillian Hellman: An Imperious Life

LAURA CLARIDGE