Remembering Mr. Shawn's New Yorker

The Invisible Art of Editing

By Ved Mehta
(Overlook Press, Hardcover, 9780879518769, 368pp.)

Publication Date: May 1998

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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A marvelous portrait of The New Yorker during the tenure of legendary editor-in-chief William Shawn by one of its most distinguished contributors.

There is perhaps no other magazine with a mystique as strong and enduring as The New Yorker, which many deemed had its finest hour under the editorship of the legendary William Shawn from 1952 to 1987. This revelatory memoir by Ved Mehta, one of the magazine's most esteemed writers, presents a rare and beguiling look at literary life in mid-century America as seen through the monocle of Eustace Tilley during these halcyon days of The New Yorker.

Ved Mehta started writing for The New Yorker at the age of 25. His talent was recognized immediately by William Shawn, who soon swept the young writer into the New Yorker world: the quest for just the right turn of phrase, six rounds, if necessary, of galley proofs set into hot type, and fatherly care that included help with finding an apartment and dinners with the Shawn family.

Over the years, Ved Mehta and his contemporaries at The New Yorker were the best and brightest of a generation of writers: J.D. Salinger, John Updike, Edmund Wilson, A. J. Liebling, Jonathan Schell, John McPhee, Jamaica Kincaid, and Calvin Trillin among others. The relationship between writer and editor is a private one, so the glimpse behind the scenes as Ved Mehta brilliantly pulls back the curtain will produce a thrilling frisson for all who love reading and writing.

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