Robert Giroux, 1958.
© Valerie Eliot; from the collection of the T. S. Eliot Estate.

Robert Giroux


Robert Giroux (1914–2008), celebrated book editor and publisher. A graduate of Columbia University, where he was the friend and editor of future writers including John Berryman and Thomas Merton (whose work he published in the Columbia Review), he joined the Harcourt, Brace company as a junior editor in 1940, helping to shape Edmund Wilson’s study To the Finland Station (1940). After distinguished war service in the U.S. Navy (he rose to the rank of lieutenant commander), in 1948 he resumed work at Harcourt, Brace, where over the coming years he published works by authors including Bernard Malamud, Jack Kerouac, Flannery O’Connor, Jean Stafford, Robert Lowell (whose collection of poetry Lord Weary’s Castle, edited by Giroux, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry 1947), Hannah Arendt, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and TSE. In 1955, when he left Harcourt for Farrar, Straus and Co., a significant number of his authors – including TSE, Lowell and O’Connor – followed his lead: the exceptional list of authors that he built up expanded to include Elizabeth Bishop, Grace Paley, Derek Walcott and William Golding. In addition, he took primary responsibility for editing a number of posthumous publications including The Freedom of the Poet, essays by Berryman; Collected Prose of Robert Lowell (1987); and Collected Prose of Elizabeth Bishop (1987); and he wrote a preface to Berryman’s Shakespeare: Essays, Letters, and Other Writings, ed. John Haffenden (1999). His works as author included The Book Known as Q: A Consideration of Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1982). See further ‘Robert Giroux: The Art of Publishing’, Paris Review, Summer 2000; Patrick Samway, Flannery O’Connor and Robert Giroux: A Publishing Partnership (2018), and Patrick Samway, John Berryman and Robert Giroux: A Publishing Friendship (2020).