Now available from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Lady-With-the-Borzoi-cover-500-wide“If you’ve ever struggled with the task of composing a guest list for the ultimate fantasy dinner party, Laura Claridge’s biography of Blanche Knopf will show you whom to put at the head of your table . . . . That dream guest is, of course, Claridge’s subject [the] ‘fierce and exigent’ co-founder of the great literary publishing house Alfred A. Knopf. . . . To round out the notional gathering, you might wheedle the illustrious publisher into bringing along some of her devoted friends, from Thomas Mann, H.L. Mencken, Albert Camus and Muriel Spark to Langston Hughes, John Hersey and Willa Cather. Or you could invite one of her many musical boyfriends, a group included (but not limited to) Jascha Heifetz, Leopold Stokowski and Arthur Rubinstein. An added perk: You wouldn’t need to worry about entertainment. Her pals Paul Robeson and George Gershwin could be counted on to drop by and provide the music.” New York Times

“Laura Claridge has written a deeply researched biography of an important but often unacknowledged publisher.”  New York Times Editors’ Choice

“A long overdue acknowledgment of the pioneering role Blanche played at a time when women were nearly invisible in the business world . . . she was a far more complicated and interesting character [than her husband, Alfred]: brilliant and ambitious.” The New Yorker

“[Laura] Claridge is the first to bring Blanche Wolf Knopf fully out of the shadows in this meticulous, groundbreaking biography. . . . Blanche signed epoch-defining writers, including Willa Cather, Thomas Booklist_StarReview_badgeMann, Langston Hughes, Wallace Stevens, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler. Blanche knew everyone, loved to party, had many affairs . . . 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.” Booklist Starred Review

“Claridge handles the theme of a woman’s struggle for power and recognition with aplomb. . . . Claridge also does well in delineating Blanche’s role in furthering Modernism; embracing the New Negro Movement, which morphed into the Harlem Renaissance; nursing her authors along (an exquisitely touchy mob, to get them to write at all may have been Blanche’s greatest accomplishment); encouraging preludes to New Journalism. . . . The achievements of the Knopfs were remarkable and readers today owe much to their legacy – and to Blanche in particular.” Christian Science Monitor

“Laura Claridge builds a compelling case that it was Blanche, far more than Alfred, who was responsible for [Knopf’s] superiority, who pursued and persuaded writers to sign on—often for low salaries and pitiful advances—for the sake of the firm’s reputation and for her own devoted personal attention.” New Republic

“[Claridge] manages to synthesize an enormous amount of research and biographical information to paint a complete picture of a complex figure. Packed with interesting literary anecdotes, this biography reveals a powerful woman who played an integral role in 20th-century publishing.” Publishers Weekly

“It took all of Blanche’s wiles to attract great writers despite the invariably mean royalty advances offered by her husband, who believed that the cachet of Knopf was its own reward.” Wall Street Journal

“A fascinating look at Blanche Knopf . . . Filled with insights into the literary intrigues of the times . . . highly recommended to readers.” Library Journal Starred Review

“Overall . . . for much of the past century, young writers have regularly dreamed of being published by Alfred A. Knopf.” Washington Post

“Claridge triumphantly restores Blanche Knopf’s central place in 20th-century publishing history.”  BookPage

“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