The allegations of sexual harassment that have hit Blake Bailey, the biographer of Philip Roth in recent days, would cover a very wide span of time: from the 1990s, when he was a teacher at Lusher Middle School in New Orleans, Louisiana, to 2015, according what emerges from the stories of Valentina Rice, an executive in the American publishing world.
In an interview with the New York Times, Rice said she was raped by Bailey when they were both guests in the home of literary critic Dwight Garner. Garner has specified that he has never had a relationship of friendship with Blake Bailey and that that was the first and only time he has set foot in his home. For these reasons, US publisher WW Norton & Co. has temporarily blocked the promotion and shipping of Bailey’s biography of Philip Roth. These are serious allegations, the publishing house told The Associated Press on Wednesday, April 21, explaining the reason for the decision to stop the volume. Bailey, former author of the biographies of Richard Yates and John Cheever among others, was chosen by Philip Roth in 2012 as his biographer.
Numerous alumni in Lusher’s time, where Bailey taught for a decade starting in 1992, they denounced his behavior as inappropriate while one of them, Eve Crawford Peyton, accuses him of raping her. In a letter quoted by the Los Angeles Times, Peyton states that Bailey’s behaviors had been rumored for decades, all of them thought to be the only ones that had happened such a thing. His behavior was a kind of Pulcinella’s secret […] but no one has ever said anything about it. Peyton claims she was raped in 2003, when she was in college, and that Bailey told her that night that he had wanted her since she was 12. Three years after the events of 2015, in the fuss raised by the #MeToo movement, Valentina Rice wrote an email under a false name to Julia A. Reidhead, president of Norton, denouncing Bailey’s behavior. I wasn’t able to tell the police what happened to me – Rice’s email reads – but inside I felt the urge to write to someone so I could protect other women in the future.
Reidhead never replied to Rice’s email but forwarded it directly to Bailey. Blake Bailey denies any allegations, both by email and through his attorney, Billy Gibbens. The literary agency that represents him, the Story Factory, has severed all professional relationships. Philip Roth: The Biography released on April 6 in the United States. In Italy, the publication scheduled for 2022 by Einaudi, the Italian publisher of Philip Roth (1933-2018). Lettura # 488 of 4 April took care of the volume in preview and in a digital special. Publisher Norton has printed a first edition of 50,000 copies of the biography, one of the most anticipated titles this year. The second edition of 10,000 copies, scheduled for early May, has been stopped.
April 23, 2021 (change April 23, 2021 | 10:56)
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