Books: Cash and Culture

At the National Book Awards ceremony last year, after a young man had streaked naked in front of the stage, the imperturbable master of ceremonies remarked, "That's funny. I talked to Alfred Knopf just a few days ago, and he said then that he couldn't make it tonight." For this year's ceremonies the famous publisher, now 82, turned up onstage at New York's Avery Fisher Hall, suitably clad in a pink shirt. Knopf was being given a special citation for more than half a century of distinguished publishing, and his brief remarks recalled a...

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