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Maschler, Tom 1933- (Mark Caine, a joint pseudonym)

Maschler, Tom 1933- (Mark Caine, a joint pseudonym)

PERSONAL:

Born August 16, 1933, in Berlin, Germany; son of Kurt (a publisher) and Rita Maschler; married Fay Coventry (a restaurant critic), 1970 (divorced, 1987); married Regina Kulinicz, 1988; children: (first marriage) Ben, Hannah, Alice.

ADDRESSES:

Home—London, England; France.

CAREER:

Editor and publisher. Andre Deutsch (publisher), production assistant, 1955; MacGibbon & Kee, editor, 1956-58; Penguin Books, fiction editor, 1958-60; Jonathan Cape, 1960—, began as editorial director, became managing director. Associate producer of film The French Lieutenant's Woman, 1981.

WRITINGS:

(Under pseudonym Mark Caine; with Frederic Raphael) The S-Man: A Grammar of Success, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1961.

Publisher (memoir), Picador (London, England), 2005.

EDITOR

L. Anderson and others, Declaration, MacGibbon & Kee, 1957.

New English Dramatists 2: Three Plays, Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 1960.

New English Dramatists 5, Penguin Books (Harmondsworth, England), 1962.

Contributor to New English Dramatists, Penguin Books (Harmondsworth, England), 1959-1970.

SIDELIGHTS:

Tom Maschler was one of the most influential publishers in the world during his tenure at the venerable London publishing house Jonathan Cape. He discovered and encouraged some of the most notable authors of the twentieth century, including Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Roth, Joseph Heller, and Gabriel García Márquez. Authors published under Maschler's direction at Jonathan Cape won thirteen Nobel Prizes for literature. In addition, Maschler was among those responsible for establishing the Booker Prize, which is now considered by many to be the most prestigious award an author can receive.

Maschler was born in Berlin, Germany. His father was a publisher, who traveled often; he was absent on a sales trip at the time of his son's birth. The family moved to Vienna in 1938, but had to flee soon after; in addition to being Jewish, Maschler's father was a socialist, and he was wanted by the Nazis. Fortunately, he was again away on business when the German officials came to arrest him; instead, they confiscated his house and his collection of valuable books and correspondence from authors and artists, including some from Van Gogh, Herman Hesse, and Thomas Mann. The family intended to go to the United States, but were unable to get passage there, and ended up in England instead.

At a young age, Maschler was largely independent of his parents, spending only short periods of time with them. He traveled extensively in Europe and went to work in a kibbutz in Israel. He was an excellent athlete and was offered a scholarship to Oxford, but when he suspected that he was being invited because of his talent for sports, he declined. He hitchhiked around the United States, spent time in Paris, and eventually returned to London, where he ran a tour business for a while. He entered the Royal Air Force to do public service, but was so appalled by the way he was treated there that he undertook a hunger strike and was eventually given a dishonorable discharge. He then went to Rome, hoping to find work in the film industry, but he was unsuccessful in that attempt. He had long resisted publishing, feeling pressure to enter the profession from his father, but at last he took an editorial position at the London publishing house Deutsch.

Maschler quickly showed his great aptitude for working with books and authors. He was still in his twenties when he took over the direction of Jonathan Cape, which had once been a great publishing house but had fallen into something of a decline. Maschler revived the house, bringing in fresh, young new authors with great talent. He enjoyed his work and did not mind praising himself or his company. "Tom Maschler is not prone to false modesty. He states frankly that when he was chairman of Jonathan Cape it was the best literary publishing house in Britain," reported John Carey in a London Sunday Times review of Publisher. In addition to working with some of the very best authors in modern literature, Maschler was also responsible for many other publishing innovations: he published the first pop-up book; was behind the publication of Masquerade, a book written in riddles that sent readers on a real-life treasure hunt; and was one of the first to popularize an academic writer, with the publication of Desmond Morris's The Naked Ape.

Maschler organized his memoir, Publisher, in sections, each one devoted to one of the notable authors with whom he worked. "The book is a Who's Who of post-war literature and publishing with walk-on parts for just about any writer of the period you've ever heard of," commented Nicholas Wroe in a review for Guardian Online. Carey found the book a disappointment, citing a "ponderous" writing style, and disapproving of the author's interest in celebrities and food. Discussing Maschler in the Edinburgh Guide, Bill Dunlop stated that while the author does focus perhaps too much on the details of his publishing deals, he "is undeniably an engaging tale-teller." On the other hand, a Kirkus Reviews contributor thought that the "brevity" of Maschler's anecdotes might be frustrating to some readers, while reporting that the book is "full of tantalizing tidbits on some intriguing figures."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Maschler, Tom, Publisher, Picador (London, England), 2005.

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2006, review of Publisher, p. 1210.

ONLINE

Book Bus,http://www.thebookbus.org/ (November 25, 2007), biographical information about Tom Maschler.

Edinburgh Guide,http://www.edinburghguide.com/ (November 25, 2007), Bill Dunlop, review of Maschler's talk at the 2005 Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Guardian Online,http://books.guardian.co.uk/ (November 25, 2007), review of Publisher.

Melbourne Age,http://www.theage.com.au/ (June 25, 2005), Hilary McPhee, review of Publisher.

Sunday Times Online,http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/ (March 13, 2005), John Carey, review of Publisher.

Times Online,http://www.timesonline.co.uk/ (November 25, 2007), biographical information about Tom Maschler.

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