Alexander Woollcott, the critic-broadcaster-anthologist who figured in the first posting in this series, was on my mind this week. I’ve been rereading Cakes and Ale, Somerset Maugham’s best novel, in preparation for a review I’m writing of a new Maugham biography that will be published in May. It happens that my personal copy of Cakes and Ale is part of Woollcott’s Second Reader, an anthology that Woollcott edited in 1937. I tweeted about this fact the other day, and in the process of looking for an interesting image of Woollcott to run with the version of my tweet that I posted on Facebook, I ran across this wonderful advertisement:
Being a critic and train buff, you can imagine how delighted I was by this ad. Imagine–if you can–a time when critics were solicited to provide paid endorsements for high-profile products!