Editing is fighting: the Memoirs of Olivier Bétourné
To those who consider publishing for a cushy profession, the activity of a lazy king, cabotage on the oil sea, and are mistaken, we recommend reading "Life as a book" (Philippe Rey, 25 euros).These are the Mémoires of Olivier Bétourné, who was an editor for forty years, first at Seuil, then at Fayard, then at Albin Michel, and again at Seuil, of which he was the boss until 2018.
Historian by training, Hugo by taste and robespierriste in spirit, Olivier Bétourné has documented his entire career: in three hundred boxes, he kept and classified the reading reports, committee reports, his diaries, his correspondence with the authors., reworked manuscripts, publication programs and Germanopratins verbatim.
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If this profession is willingly forgetful, he remembers how files are gathered for a trial.witness, the accusations to which he had to answer.According to him, to edit is not to rest, it is to fight.
A tormented conception of publishing
Entering the arena in 1977, then suspected, by an anonymous letter addressed to the director of the Seuil Paul Flamand, of being an agent of the Red Brigades, Olivier Bétourné sat on the committee of the Seuil, where the collection directors were without ceased, witnessed the implosion of the house when Hervé Hamon and Patrick Rotman wanted to publish there (in vain) their investigation on "the Intellocrates", arbitrated duels between Philippe Sollers and François Wahl or Tahar Ben Jelloun and Alain Finkielkraut, noted the devastation, internally, caused by the pro-Palestinian positions of the CEO Michel Chodkiewicz, who had converted to Islam, and the capital gains of 2.5 million euros, which would have affected his successor, Claude Cherki, during the takeover of Seuil by La Martinière.
Posted Date: 2020-09-16