Jeremy Lewis

Hats off to Harold

The New Yorker Book of the 40s: Story of a Decade

By

William Heinemann 696pp £25 order from our bookshop

The first issue of the New Yorker was published in February 1925, and though it soon established itself as the ultimate in sophistication and well-informed urbanity, its founder and editorial dynamo, Harold Ross, was only too aware of his modest Midwestern origins and his lack of formal education. This gave him, in the words of David Remnick, the current editor of the magazine, ‘a mystical obsession with grammatical punctilio and syntactical clarity’. As this marvellous anthology makes clear, ‘he prized shoe-leather reporting, vivid observation, absolute clarity and conversational tone’ and, to his credit, ‘he feared pretension and self-importance almost as much as he feared a dropped comma’. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • He weeps by the side of the ocean, He weeps on the top of the hill; He purchases pancakes and lotion, And chocolate… ,
    • 'Half-way through The Conquest of Water I felt as if I had been subjected to the literary equivalent of excessive c… ,
    • 'Volume five, then, but still no end in sight. Sandbrook is clearly enjoying himself so much he can’t bear the seri… ,
    • 'By the end of the book something so weighty, stylish and impressive has been built up that one feels far nearer to… ,
    • 'Her ensuing psychotic episode is described so convincingly ... that the reader will wonder if Dobrakovová did not… ,
    • 'The perspectives complement and contest one another, amounting to a glorious, atmospheric set of ventriloquisms.'… ,
    • RT : I reviewed The Testaments for . I will not be taking any questions at this time. ,