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Letters from the Editor: the New Yorker's Harold Ross

by Kunkel, Thomas

  • ISBN: 9780375503979
  • ISBN10: 0375503978

Letters from the Editor: the New Yorker's Harold Ross

by Kunkel, Thomas

  • List Price: $26.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Modern Library
  • Publish date: 01/04/2000
  • ISBN: 9780375503979
  • ISBN10: 0375503978
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Description: The inimitable Harold Ross once advised a writer, "Don't waste your time and words on letters. You don't get paid for them." He was also known to warn, "Never start a magazine." Fortunately he didn't take his own advice, and so we have not only The New Yorker magazine, but also this wonderful collection of letters -- at turns wry, fervent, outrageous, pleading, and fierce -- written by the magazine's founding editor. Selected and with an excellent introduction by Ross biographer Thomas Kunkel, these letters tell the story of Ross's own rise and the rise of The New Yorker, two subjects that are forever intertwined. Born in the then-wilds of Aspen, Colorado, Ross began his career while still a teenager as a tramp newspaperman and though he eventually held his own in the most sophisticated of circles, he never lost his brash, blunt vitality. Ross edited the army's newspaper in France during World War I and then moved to New York, already determined to start his own magazine. After many struggles, he succeeded in launching The New Yorker in February 1925, only to find that more and bigger struggles lay ahead. For the next twenty-six years, Ross contended with these struggles in his own cantankerous, desperate -- but, surprisingly, very appealing -- fashion. Within the magazine's first year, much of its permanent vision was already in place, thanks to Ross, with such writers as E. B. White, James Thurber, and Wolcott Gibbs; The New Yorker typeface; and departments including Talk of the Town, Profiles, and Reporter at Large. Not to mention Ross's commitment to publishing a certain kind of writing ("We want to say something ... and at the same time keep it more or less interesting andbright"). Over the years Ross solicited the work of many great writers -- an unknown Will Rogers, a less known Groucho Marx, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker -- and oversaw virtually every aspect of the world's greatest magazine through the period including the Great Depression and World War II. After Ross's death, E. B. White said: "In retrospect I am beginning to think of him as an Atlas who lacked muscle tone but who God damn well decided he was going to hold up the world anyway."
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