Headline June10,2012/ The Literary Lion

The most brilliant editor of a magazine ever to have worked in this country

Jason Epstein’s assessment is shared by virtually scores and scores of writers who have been published by Robert Silvers in The New York Review of Books. For it was always perceived and later understood that once Bob had a faith in a writer he would let him have all the time and space in the world.

A measure of his success is the number of “Nobel Prize" winners - among them Saui Bellow, Joseph Brodsky, V.S. Naipaul, J.M. Coetezee, Derek Walcott, Peter Medawar, and Steven Weinburg - whose work has appeared in the magazine, and the roster of important thinkers who have graced its pages, including Hannah Arendt, Gore Vidal, Vladmir, Nabakov, Edmund Wilson, Noam Chomsky, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Jon Didion, and Isaiah Berlin.

The New York Review of Books came into existence by accident. In 1959, Silvers, then an Editor of Harper's, had commissioned a group of writers including Alfred Kazin and Kingsley Amins to investigate the state of writing in America. The supplement included Elizabeth Haardwick's hard hitting essay "The Decline of Book Reviewing".

In 1962 when New York's newspapers went on strike and left publishers with virtually nowhere to have their books advertised, let alone reviewed, Jason Epstein, along with his wife, Barbara, were inspired to come up with a magazine to fill the gap. They immediately invited their friend Bob Silvers to edit it. The new publication had no backing, but Brooke Astor, a principal benefactor of New York Public Library, and others provided the funds to launch the magazine, allowing Bob and his co-editor,Barbara Epstein , to publish exactly what they chose.

But Epstein's death later left the contributors devastated. Despite the long late hours Bob spent at his desk, he was no anchorite. On the contrary he held key position in New York's intellectual life and enjoyed playing an important, albeit covert role in the political scene. One must witness the magazine's splendid and courageous coverage of the war in Iraq.

The acuity of his perceptions is matched by the keen intelligence of his longtime companion. Grace Dudley, who had been a sharer in her beloved editors' infinite curiosity about the miseries and splendors of today's world!!

Thanks to !WOW!  Have a great weekend!

Good night and God bless! 

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless!


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!