Who are the heirs of Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens? Would you believe Danielle Steele and John Grisham? In our time, bestsellers may not be great literature, but it wasn't always so. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, why Les Miserables was a world smash. Also, a scholar defends the popular tastes of the Book-of-the-Month Club. And, making a book into a blockbuster.
George Plimpton has written a biography called "Truman Capote, In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances, and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career." Plimpton tells Steve Paulson that it was his nonfiction novel "In Cold Blood," that made Capote a star. Later, his charm made him a celebrity.SEGMENT 2:
Graham Robb is the author of "Victor Hugo: A Biography." He tells Steve Paulson that it's hard to separate the facts (bizarre as some of them are) from the myths surrounding this great 19th century French literary lion. Hugo dabbled in politics and spiritualism, wrote poems and best-sellers and insatiably chased women well into his eighties.SEGMENT 3:
Richard Joseph owns a specialized publishing company and is the author of "Bestsellers: Top Writers Tell How." He explains to Jim Fleming what the best-selling authors he interviewed told him about how to write and market a manuscript for the general reader. Also, Janice Radway teaches literature at Duke and is the author of "A Feeling for Books: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle Class Desire." She tells Judith Strasser that she loves bestsellers, mysteries and nature books - even though academics aren't supposed to.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 98-03-08-C.
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