Siegfried Unseld

The Author and His Publishers

Lectures Delivered in Mainz and Austin
(German title: Der Autor und sein Verleger)
ca. 356 pages
Siegfried Unseld
Foto: Siegfried Unseld
© Christian Höhn

Siegfried Unseld was born in 1924. From 1959 until his death in 2002 he was the publisher of Suhrkamp Verlag.

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English world rights (Chicago UP), Spanish world rights (Taurus), Chinese simplex rights (Shanghai Reader), Russia (Libra; non-exclusive), Brazilian Portuguese rights (Guanabara), France (Gallimard), Italy (Adelphi)


»As head of Suhrkamp Verlag, a premier German publishing house, Siegfried Unseld is eminently qualified to write about the relationship between authors and their publishers – and he does so here with engaging partisan enthusiasm.

Long familiar with what he terms the Janus-headed nature of the publishing profession, Unseld considers the dual responsibilities of a publisher: in one direction, his responsibility for the material success of his firm; and in the other, his responsibility to the intellectual ideals and spiritual requirements of his authors.

Through close examination of four writers, Unseld shows how the author's personality can affect the publisher's dilemma. Hermann Hesse, by virtue of his loyalty and his desire for financial independence, enjoyed an exemplary relationship with his publishers. With Bertolt Brecht it was all confusion; with Rainer Maria Rilke, a one-author-one-publisher lifetime alliance; with Swiss poet Robert Walser, a mire of difficulties (»Each book printed,« he once said, was »a grave for its author«).« (Book Description of the Chicago UP edition)

Other publications

Reiseberichte/Travel Reports (2020)

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Greece (Potamos)

Der Briefwechsel Thomas Bernhard/Siegfried Unseld/The Correspondence (2009)

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Spanish world rights (Complices)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Der Hörverlag)

Goethe und seine Verleger/Goethe and His Publishers (1991)

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English world rights (Chicago UP), Spanish world rights (Galaxia Gutenberg), Chinese simplex rights (Yunnan), France (Gallimard), Italy (Adelphi), Japan (Hosei UP)