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Here at the New Yorker
by Brendan Gill
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0394489896, Hardcover)Brendan Gill sold his first story to the New Yorker in 1936, when he was 21, and has worked there ever since. When his irreverent memoir appeared in 1975, it caused the most delightful of frissons, because the outside world then knew little about his workplace. Gill declares that "in the old Ross-Shawn days, what hadn't happened at the magazine was more worthy of note than what had." In reality, of course, a great deal was happening, and Gill seems to have heard and remembered it all. (This edition also contains a 1997 introduction, complete with acute and politic comments on the Bob Gottlieb and Tina Brown regimes.) But Here at the New Yorker is far from an exposé, consisting instead of the recollections of a lucky man who loves his work and many of his fellows.
Each reader will have his or her favorite anecdotes. Gill remembers taking the subway with Marianne Moore, who was squeezed next to two high school musicians. "Miss Moore stared with admiration at the drum, then said to the boy holding the drumsticks, 'Sonny, when the time comes, give it a big bang just for me.'" And, speaking of big bangs, the old New Yorker was far more squeamish--an organ in which bare nipples were nowhere to be found. Its first editor, Harold Ross, shown a cartoon complete with one such entity, growled: "Take that goddam tit up to Mrs. White and ask her what to do about it." His successor, William Shawn, shared his modesty though not his speech patterns. When Mr. Shawn asked the novelist Henry Green what led him to write Loving, Green's reply wasn't quite what he had expected. Alas, readers, you must turn to page 386 of this endlessly charming book for the offending response.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:50:13 -0500)
For over sixty years Brendan Gill was a contented inmate of the singular institution known as The New Yorker. This affectionate account of the magazine, long known as a home for congenital unemployables, is a celebration of its wards and attendants--William Shawn, Harold Ross's gentle and courtly successor as editor; the incorrigible mischief-maker James Thurber; the two Whites, Katherine and E.B.; John O'Hara, "master of the fancied slight"; and, among a hundred others, Peter Arno, Saul Steinberg, Edmund Wilson, Lewis Mumford, and Pauline Kael. Brendan Gill knew them all, and by virtue of his virtually total recall, keen eye, and impeccable prose, his diverting portraits of these eccentrics in rage and repose are amply supplied with both dimples and warts. This is a delightful tour of New York's most glorious madhouse.--From publisher description.
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