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Brendan Gill (1914–1997)

Author of Here at The New Yorker

23+ Works 1,194 Members 12 Reviews

About the Author

Brendan Gill is perhaps best known as the witty and urbane author of the New Yorker magazine's "Talk of the Town" column. Born on October 4, 1914 in Hartford, Conn., Gill graduated from Yale University in 1936 and immediately went to work for The New Yorker as a film and art critic. It was at the show more magazine that Gill was able to rub elbows with celebrities such as Cole Porter and Tallulah Bankhead, both of whom later became subjects of Gill's biographies. Gill's own memoir, Here at the New Yorker, is filled with reminiscence, humorous anecdotes, and the unforgettable cartoons that have made the magazine famous. Gill also wrote fiction and short stories, and his style is reflected in books such as Death in April, Other Poems and The Trouble of One House, for which he won a National Book Award in 1951 Brendan Gill died on December 27, 1997. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Works by Brendan Gill

Associated Works

The Portable Dorothy Parker [1973 Deluxe Edition] (1973) — Introduction — 1,901 copies
75 Short Masterpieces: Stories from the World's Literature (1961) — Contributor — 297 copies
The Collected Dorothy Parker (2001) — Introduction — 269 copies
The Big New Yorker Book of Cats (2013) — Contributor — 132 copies
All Aboard With E.M. Frimbo, World's Greatest Railroad Buff (1974) — some editions — 104 copies
Cole: A Biographical Essay (1971) — Contributor — 92 copies
55 Short Stories from The New Yorker, 1940 to 1950 (1949) — Contributor — 60 copies
The Bedside Tales: A Gay Collection (1945) — Contributor — 46 copies
The Villard Houses (A Studio book) (1980) — Introduction — 41 copies
Cafe Des Artistes Cookbook (1984) — Foreword — 30 copies
The Girls from Esquire (1952) — Contributor — 18 copies
World's Great Tales of the Sea (1944) — Contributor — 16 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1945 (1945) — Contributor — 12 copies
More Chucklebait: Funny Stories for Everyone (1949) — Contributor — 9 copies
Time to Be Young: Great Stories of the Growing Years (1945) — Contributor — 7 copies


Common Knowledge



Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) is often described as the greatest of American architects. His works-among them Taliesin North, Taliesin West, Fallingwater, the Johnson Wax buildings, the Guggenheim Museum--earned him a good measure of his fame, but his flamboyant personal life earned him the rest. Here Brendan Gill, a personal friend of Wright and his family, gives us not only the fullest, fairest, and most entertaining account of Wright to date, but also strips away the many masks the architect tirelessly constructed to fascinate his admirers and mislead his detractors. Enriched by hitherto unpublished letters and 300 photographs and drawings, this definitive biography makes Wright, in all his creativity, crankiness, and zest, fairly leap from its pages.
Source: Amazon - September 30, 2021
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fontanitum | 6 other reviews | Sep 30, 2021 |
Gill chronicles the amazingly long and fruitful life and career of Wright with the dual advantage of having known him yet not blindly in awe of him. He sees the flaws of the man, a deceitful egomaniac, reckless with finances, both his own and those of his clients, careless of reputation, both his own and that of the women who fell under his spell, his churlishness in hiding what he had learned by studying the work of others, especially his contemporaries.
Yet Gill remains convinced that Wright was one of the greatest architects of all time. Not every building he designed was a masterpiece—he was never reluctant to flaunt the principles he proclaimed—but the best of them are unsurpassed not only in their technical achievement but in their ability to elevate the spirit of anyone who enters.
Does this balance out the flaws, to raise the question often posed in considering such geniuses? Gill struggles not to place his assessment on these terms, but in the end must concede that while many take more from the world than they give back, Wright was not among them; he struck a good bargain with the world.
The title expresses an aspect of Wright central to Gill’s interpretation: Wright spent a lifetime inventing and discarding a series of personae, from teenage runaway who transformed himself into boy wonder, all the way to ancient sage. Gill applies his reportorial skills to explode some of the founding myths of the Wright cult, including the dream his mother was purported to have had while pregnant with him revealing his destined profession.
Together with Gill, the reader shakes his head, wondering why such an undeniably great man felt the need to embellish as he did. Yet this mystery is not nearly as great as the level of creative innovation Wright was able to seemingly “shake out of [his] sleeve,” as Wright himself repeatedly described it.
A good read, highly recommended.
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HenrySt123 | 6 other reviews | Jul 19, 2021 |
Brendan Gill's clarity of vision and his characteristic elegance, Gill gives us a meditation on one man's unprecedented accomplishment, and the world's overwhelming response.Draws on Lindbergh's full life to present him as a characteristic nineteenth-century American compelled to succeed in the twentieth century and as an intensely private man compelled to live his life in public.
Brendan Gill is perhaps best known as the witty and urbane author of the New Yorker magazine's "Talk of the Town" column.
Remarkable insights to who Charles was. Reeve was right - "Gill had a real and deep instinct about who my father was." Not a typical biography - no beginning to end of life journey. Instead, jumps about linking elements of Lindbergh and his life thematically rather than chronologically.
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MasseyLibrary | Apr 17, 2018 |


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