Horace Liveright (1883-1933)

Image: Béla Lugosi (left) & Angelo Rossitto in “Scared to Death” (1947)

From: Chapter XXVIII – September, One Summer – America 1927 (2013), by Bill Bryson:

In the three years 1925 to 1927, (Liveright) produced what was perhaps the most dazzling parade of quality books ever to emerge from a single publishing house in a concentrated period. They included An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, Dark Laughter by Sherwood Anderson, In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway (who then eloped to Scribner’s), Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner, Enough Rope by Dorothy Parker, Crystal Cup by Gertrude Atherton, My Life by Isadora Duncan, Education and the Good Life by Bertrand Russell, Napoleon by Emil Ludwig, The Thibaults by Roger Martin du Gard (forgotten now, but he was soon to win a Nobel Prize), The Golden Day by Lewis Mumford, three plays by Eugene O’Neill, volumes of poems by T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, E.E. Cummings, Edgar Lee Masters and Robinson Jeffers, and a work of cheery froth by Hollywood screenwriter Anita Loos called Gentlemen Prefer Blondes…

In 1927 he…brought over from London a play that had been a big success there: Dracula. For the American production, he selected a little-known Hungarian actor named Béla Lugosi…In what may have been the best idea he ever had, Liveright hit on the gimmick of having a nurse stand by at each performance to help those who fainted, to emphasise just how terrifying an experience Dracula was.

…Thanks almost entirely to (Alfred A.) Knopf and Liveright, American publishing was vastly more cosmopolitan and daring by the late 1920s than it had been just a dozen or so years before.”

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