On February 5, The New York Review celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with an evening at Town Hall in New York City. Before a packed crowd of 1,400 people, editor Robert Silvers introduced John Banville, Mary Beard, Michael Chabon, Mark Danner, Joan Didion, Daniel Mendelsohn, and Darryl Pinckney, who read from their past work in the Review and spoke about their relationship with the magazine and its influence on their careers. We present here some highlights from the event, along with a selection of photos.
Ronald Dworkin, who died on February 14 at the age of eighty-one, published over one hundred articles, reviews, and letters on legal and philosophical issues in The New York Review, from his 1968 defense of conscientious objectors to the draft during the Vietnam War to his 2012 argument against color-blind college admissions policies. As we mourn the loss of a long-standing contributor and friend, we present the following selection of his writings from the Review.
The first personal ad to appear in The New York Review of Books was published in the magazine’s July 11, 1968 issue. “WIFE WANTED,” it read. “Intelligent, beautiful, 18 to 25, broad-minded, sensitive, affectionate. For accomplished artist and exciting life. NYR box 1432.” Ever since then the Review’s personals have been a widely-followed (and much-parodied) part of the magazine. Associate Publisher Catherine Tice spoke with NPR’s Scott Simon for Weekend Edition Saturday about love sought, and found, in the pages of the Review.
When I think of the focused efforts that led nowhere, and the gifts that have fallen in my lap—like working at the Review—I have to resist discerning a pattern. I was sleeping on a friend’s floor in New Orleans, running from a heavy heart, when Barbara Epstein offered me a job as assistant editor. It was the spring of 1989; I was twenty-four.
The Fisk Building had a stolid utilitarian look, like one of Ben Katchor’s cartoon office buildings, and was surrounded by automobile showrooms, at the dowdy end of West 57th Street. New York was paradise. You took a 57th Street Cafeteria bagel on a shortcut through the Yangtze River Restaurant, passing the wonton wrapper, to an elevator crammed with other smokers, to the thirteenth floor where The New York Review had an office like a detective agency in a film noir. I arrived in December 1963, before the NYR had been on the newsstands a year. I was twenty-one.