Books: Self-Destruct History

Seldom has an anthology of critical essays aroused so much prepublication anxiety as Diana Trilling's We Must March My Darlings. Playwright Lillian Hellman told the New York Times last year she had heard the manuscript contained "a hysterical personal attack on me." Little, Brown, the publisher for both writers, requested the deletion of four passages about Hellman from the Trilling text. When the author refused, the publisher terminated the contract, precipitating a ruckus whose reverberations can still be heard.

Unwavering Opponents. Though the book quickly found its present publisher, Trilling's admirers feared that her work would be devalued by the brouhaha. They...

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