New Treasures: The Library of America Publishes Elmore Leonard
The Library of America has made a fine business of publishing archival quality omnibus editions of the most important novels of the 20th Century. We’ve covered several here recently, including:
A Princess of Mars and Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s, edited by Gary K. Wolfe
American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny, edited by Peter Straub
They’ve also published omnibus editions of Kurt Vonnegut, Dashiell Hammett, Philip K. Dick, Ross Macdonald, David Goodis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and many others. I received several review copies in the mail from Library of America recently, including one of their Elmore Leonard collections. It’s been years since I’ve read anything by Leonard, but then again, it’s been a long time since I’ve held something as enticing as these collections. If you’re looking to put together an impressive genre library, this is the place to start.
Elmore Leonard: Four Novels of the 1970s was published on August 28, 2014. It contains Fifty-Two Pickup, Swag, Unknown Man, and The Switch; it is 809 pages, priced at $35 in hardcover. Elmore Leonard: Four Novels of the 1980s was published on September 1, 2015. It contains City Primeval, LaBrava, Glitz, and Freaky Deaky; it is 1024 pages, priced at $37.50 in hardcover. There are no digital editions.
If you’ve never read Elmore Leonard, he gets my vote for the best hard boiled-style author of the post hard-boiled era.
A FINE crime writer. If you liked the movie, Get Shorty (and I loved it), the book is even better.
I figured you’d approve Bob!
Beautiful! If there is a crime fiction mountain, Leonard’s work stands at the summit. Hail to the king of crime.
Two things come to mind as I read this.
1.) The second photo of Elmore Leonard, in which he has a sort of Yuri Andropov or General Wojciech Jaruzelski look about him in those dark glasses, is not as flattering as it could be.
2.) The Library of America is an excellent series, but it’s a great shame that Robert E Howard, Harold Lamb, Louis L’Amour and other highly deserving authors have yet to make it in.
Speaking of people I really need to read one of these days. Justified was one of the best things to hit TV in a long, long time.
> The Library of America is an excellent series, but it’s a great shame that Robert E Howard, Harold Lamb, Louis L’Amour
> and other highly deserving authors have yet to make it in.
Indeed. The Library of America is a prestigious series, for sure, and they market to libraries around the country. But they’re still a business, which means that at heart their selections probably aren’t that far off from other publishers.
Meaning that 1) if the rights are tied up with some other publisher (as I believe is the case with Louis L’Amour), it doesn’t matter how deserving the writer is, and 2) if the writer’s entire body of work is already available in mass market editions (as is the case with Howard and much of Lamb), a Library of America hardcover omnibus probably doesn’t make much business sense.
I doubt the Library of America is consciously snubbing the authors you mention. They’re just paying tribute to the writers they can get the rights to, and for whom a premium omnibus reprint makes good business sense.
> Speaking of people I really need to read one of these days. Justified was one of the best things to hit TV in a long, long time.
I’ll second that. Even my wife loved it.
Did you ever read the novel RAYLAN?
No, I haven’t ready any of the Raylan books yet — would those be a good place for a Leonard newbie to start?
I haven’t read them either, but I have most of them. Anazon has an omnibus collection here:
Note it doesn’t include the novel RAYLAN, which is also a great place to start.