Remembering Mr. Shawn's New Yorker: The Invisible Art of Editing

Ved Mehta, Author Overlook Press $35 (368p) ISBN 978-0-87951-876-9
A poignant tribute from a flawed but well-placed Boswell, Mehta's book revisits (through memories, letters and interviews) the career of William Shawn, who edited the New Yorker from 1951 to 1987. During his self-effacing stewardship, Shawn shifted the emphasis of the magazine from the satire and whimsy of his predecessor, Harold Ross, to serious in-depth reportage, all the while maintaining the elegance and integrity for which the magazine was famous--qualities generally thought to have faded from its pages since his departure. As the eighth volume in the memoir series Continents of Exile, Mehta's account suffers from a dual focus. Like the real Boswell, Mehta (who joined the New Yorker's staff in 1959 and was ""terminated"" by Tina Brown in 1994) tends to get in the way of his more interesting mentor, dropping names, telling tales and settling scores with tiresome self-importance; at times his adulation of Shawn seems to call less for a memoir than for a few hours on the analyst's couch. But, even a decade after publishing tycoon S.I. Newhouse asserted his new control of the magazine by firing Shawn and replacing him with Robert Gottlieb, Mehta's nostalgia for the ""old,"" independent New Yorker is still contagious. Indeed, once he jogs our memory, it comes almost as a shock that something as eccentric and rigorously uncommercial as Shawn's New Yorker could have existed so recently, or vanished so completely from the literary scene. In his chronicles, Mehta builds a powerful, very moving case for the punctilious, ""invisible art"" of his former boss. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/04/1998
Release date: 05/01/1998
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 413 pages - 978-0-87951-707-6
Hardcover - 432 pages - 978-0-9543520-5-9
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.