T. O’Conor Sloane III was well-known for his wit and for his stories and the following is a particularly good one, “Battle Lines,” from The Literary Life and Other Curiosities (Viking Press, 1981) by Robert Hendrickson. The story got some mileage as the book was reprinted in 1982 by Penguin Books and a new and revised edition was printed in 1994 by Harvest Books.
T. O’Conor Sloane III, long an editor at Doubleday, tells the following story: “Many years ago, when Robert Giroux was editor-in-chief of Harcourt, Brace, he told me this little anecdote. He was expecting a visit from T.S. Eliot one day, and he knew that Carl Sandburg was going to be in the offices at the same time. Mr. Giroux made what arrangements he could to keep the two from meeting face to face, because he knew that the poets were not mutual admirers. When he returned to his office from lunch, to his horror he saw Sandburg and Eliot there, glaring at each other from opposite corners. ‘Your face has deep lines,’ Sandburg was saying to Eliot. I later told this little story to Melville Cane, the lawyer and poet. He said, ‘If I had been Eliot, I would have said to Sandburg, ‘I can’t say the same for your poetry.’”The Literary Life and Other Curiosities (Viking Press, 1981) by Robert Hendrickson