Viking Press published Life for Life’s Sake in January 1941 and Aldington by then had completed work on the anthology, which on 7 January he trumpeted to Pat Covici as ‘the nicest thing we’ve done together’. He was confident he had done better than all predecessors, including wiping out ‘Mr Q [Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch] and his Oxford Book’. Beyond editing, he was careful of other details, from the book’s physical weight (he tested books for their wieldiness in the hand) to the question of whether to include his own poems—an idea rejected as giving critics a potential weapon, that he had chosen himself while omitting this, that or the other worthy poet. While tactfully accepting many in-house editorial suggestions, he endeavoured to keep the book nicely proportioned, and especially not overweighted with moderns.
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