Yuk! Pshaw! Excelsior! Fifty Years of Headlines from The New York Review

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Throughout its first fifty years, The New York Review of Books has asked many questions: What is Art? How Did it Happen? Where Do We Go From Here? Yonder Shakespeare, Who Is He? Tennis Anyone? How Dead is Arnold Schoenberg? Aimez-Vous Rousseau? Is There a Marxist in the House? How Smelly Was the Palladian Villa? Do Fish Have Nostrils?

It has also addressed many other more serious questions: The Suez Question, The Heidegger Question, Senator Proxmire’s Questions, Questions About Kafka. Sometimes it broached The Unanswered Question, or even Answers Without Questions. But some questions the Review answered forthrightly: Was it Xenophanes? It Was. The Roof? It Was. Knopf? No. Freud? It Wasn’t. And it has tackled many mysteries: Leonardo. Schizophrenia. The Libidinous Molecule. Dutch Painting. Innocence. Consciousness. The Panda.

If God is in the details, the Review has examined many of them: God’s Country, Milton’s God, The Great God Wish, God in the Computer, God in the Hands of Angry Sinners. The devil has also been given his due: his Disciple, his Brew, looking him in the Face, The Devil and Lolita, The Devil and the Flesh, Sex and the Devil.

Speaking of sex, the Review has not been shy about it: Sex in the Head, Sex and Fashion, Sex & Czechs, Sex and the Church, not to mention Sex and Democracy in Taiwan, The Victorian Sex Wars, The Same-Sex Future, Those Sexy Puritans.

In some cases the Review has given stern, if useful, advice: Don’t Sing Your Crap. Don’t Say “Boo” to a Goose. Don’t Tread on Us. Don’t Forget Keynes. Don’t Mind If I Do. Tell, Don’t Show. Don’t Take Our Raphael!

Exclamations! They started in 1963 with Oy! Then Oy, Oy! came the reply, inaugurating an exuberant tradition that, five decades later, numbers well over two hundred examples. Pshaw! Gulp! Excelsior! Ach! (Those were all in the first few years.) Coleridge Lives! Nixon Wins! Kids, Pull Up Your Socks! Screwed! Get a Lawyer! Ah, Wilderness! Yuk! How Unpleasant to Meet Mr. Baudelaire! That’s Earl, Folks! O Albany! The Pizza Is Burning! It’s For Your Own Good!

There have been more than a few firsts (The First Laugh, First Love, The First Book, First Trip to China) and quite a lot of lasts: The Last Word, Whig, Intellectual, Hippie, Romantic, and Harpoon, The Last Word on Evil, The Last Days of Nietzsche (also of Nature, Pinochet, the Poets, New York, and Hong Kong). Endings have been a particular theme: The End of the Affair, End of the Line, End of its Tether—but also, more hopefully, The Beginning of the End, Oddly Brilliant Beginnings, and Where the Fun Starts.

Games have been played: The Lying Game, Confidence Games, Cat-and-Mouse Games, The Waiting Game in the Balkans, War Games in the Senate. And many Strange and Curious Cases have been described, from that of Pushkin and Nabokov through Jefferson’s Subpoena, the Spotted Mice, and the Loony Lexicographer.

Review headlines have been rich in superlatives: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times. The Best Turnips on the Creek, How to Be Your Own Worst Enemy. The Best of Both Worlds, The Worst Place on Earth. The Best Faces of the Enlightenment, The Worst of the Terror. The Best He Could Do.

“He”—who’s he? or she? One of the Review’s distinctive headline constructions has been what might be called the Pronoun with Indeterminate Antecedent. Was He Peeking? Did He Goof? She Was from Seattle. He Had His Ups and Downs. They Never Met. What Did He Really Think About Race? He Knew Manet. She Was His Concubine. They Didn’t Use Animals. They’d Much Rather Be Rich. They’re Taking Over!

Devoted nyrbologists will no doubt have their own favorites. Space constraints prevent a full listing from a a a a a a… to Zuni Tunes so what follows is merely a selection from the more than 19,000 headlines published in the first fifty years of The New York Review of Books.


Hello to Berlin
Hello Out There
Hello, Dolly!
Welcome to al-Sadr City!
Welcome to Doomsday
Welcome to New Dork
Welcome to Munciekin Land
Welcome Homer!
Greetings from Far Away
Hello to All That
Hello to All That
Hello to All That
Hello to All That!

We Have Something to Tell You

I’m All Right, Jack
Not Very Well, Thank You
Et tu, Teddy White
Sorry, Marshall Lee
No Thanks, Mogul
It’s Your Fault, Henry James
Sir Oswald, Leave the House!
I’m All Right, Dick
I’m Sorry, the Doctor Is Busy Making Money
Come, Come Now
Darling, They’re Quoting Our Poem
Surprise, Surprise
Please, Yale
No, Plato, No
No Thank You, Mr. President
Play It Again, Sam
Knock, Knock. Who’s There?
No, but I read the book.
Hi ho, Silver!
Play It Again, Franz
Merci, Giscard
Watson, I’m Back
Yes, Santa, There Is a Virginia
Quo Vadis, Wojtyla?
Ditto, Kiddo
Et tu, Hugo
Dear Delmore,
Et Tu, Anthony
Cheer Up, John Paul II
Goodbye, Columbus
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
Yes, Minister
Look Homeward, Ira
Show Us You Care, Ma’am
Watch Out, Democrats!
Music, Maestro, Please!
Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Et Tu, Cicero?
NO, Prime Minister
Mitt, We Hardly Knew Ye!


We’re on the Case

The Strange Case of Pushkin and Nabokov
The Strange Case of Freud, Bullitt, and Woodrow Wilson
The Curious Case of Amalia Popper
The Case of Wilhelm Reich
The Case of Heberto Padilla
The Case of Mario Pedrosa
The Case of Martin Sostre
The Case of Michael Wechsler
The Case of Giyora Neuman
The Strange Case of Jefferson’s Subpoena
The Curious Case of Max Müller
The Strange Case of the Spotted Mice
The Hard Case of Yeats
The Case of Dr. Kissinger
The Case of Luca Della Robbia
The Case of General Seregni
The Case of Prof. Stastny
The Case of Joesoef Ishak
The Case of Dr. Besikci
The Case of Yuri Orlov
The Case of Miklos Duray
The Case of Raza Kazim
The Case of Alexandr Bogoslovski
The Case of the Crooked Bookman
The Case of Dr. Koryagin
The Case of Daud Haider
The Case of Gennady Trifonov
The Strange Case of Leopardi
The Case of the Colorblind Painter
The Case of Mordechai Vanunu
The Strange Case of William Bullitt
The Strange Case of Paul de Man
The Case of Elizardo Sanchez
The Case of the Dizzy Detective
The Case of Silviu Brucan
The Case of the Cessna 310
The Case of Dr. Gallo
The Case of Ken Saro-Wiwa
The Strange Case of Pablo Chapa
The Case of the Kissing Senator
The Case of Wei Jingsheng
The Case of Hannah Arendt
The Case of Lani Guinier
The Case of the Loony Lexicographer
The Case of the Canned Lawyer
The Strange Case of William James
The Case of Arthur Conan Doyle
The Strange Case of Dr. B.
The Strange Case of Robert Oppenheimer
The Case of Theresa Schiavo
The Case of Dai Qing
The Strange Case of Chaplain Yee
The Case of Orhan Pamuk
The Strange Case of Judge Alito
The Case of Dr. Condor
The Case of Tony Judt
The Case of E.P. Thompson
The Case of Eskinder Nega
The Case of Michelle
The Case of Cases

It’s Mysterious

Mysteries of Economic Growth
Mysterious Japan
Mystery in History
Mysteries of Islam
Mysteries of Louisa May Alcott
Mysterious Incest
Mysteries in History
Mysteries of Dutch Painting
Mysteries of the Panda
Mysteries of the Deaf
Mystery Women
Mystery Man
Mysteries of a Masterpiece
Mysteries of a Modern Painter
Mysteries of the Middle Class
Mysteries of the Mall
Mysteries of Mallarmé
Mysteries of Mondrian
Mysterious Masterpieces
Mysteries of the Caucasus
Mystery in the Heartland
Mysteries of Siena
Mysteries of Ensor
The Mystery of Leonardo
The Mystery of Schizophrenia
The Mysterious East
The Mystery of Mysteries
The Mysterious Moon Marks
The Mystery of the Libidinous Molecule
The Mystery of Jean Bodin
The Mysterious West
The Mysteries of Mr. Lippmann
The Mystery of Max Eitingon
The Mystery of Chico Mendes
The Mystery of Malaria
The Mystery of Cities
The Mystery of Mexican Politics
The Mystery of Innocence
The Mystery of Consciousness
The Mysterious Song
The Mysterious Mr. Wordsworth
The Mystery of Emily Dickinson
The Mystery of JonBenèt Ramsey
The Mysterious Miss Nightingale
The Mystery of Ignazio Silone
The Mystery of Presence
The Mystery of Growth
The Mystery of the Ring
The Mystery of Zhou Enlai
The Mysterious Mythmaker of New York
The Mystery of Female Grace
The Mystery of Consciousness Continues
The Mysterious Powers of the Word
The Mysterious Women of Vermeer
The Mysterious End of the Soviet Union
The Mystery of Charles Dickens
The Mystery of Translation

But We’re Getting It

Getting at Rembrandt
Getting Close to Catullus
Getting Out of Bed at Night
Getting to Know You
Getting to Know the Slaves
Getting Used to Mugging
Getting Solzhenitsyn Straight
Getting Religion
Getting Away from It All
Getting Down to Business
Getting Along in Czechoslovakia
Getting Away From It All
Getting Out of the Central American Maze
Getting Goedel Straight
Getting It Wrong
Getting Along with Hitler
Getting Out of a Spin
Getting to Sack the General
Getting Rough on the Poor
Getting Dressed in the Dark
Getting FDR’s Ear
Getting Away from It All
Getting the Picture
Getting Russia Right
Getting Back to Life
Getting Things Right
Getting Even
Getting Cricket Straight
Getting Better
Getting Through
Getting in Nature’s Way
Getting Clare Clear
Getting Away With Murder
Getting High on the Himalayas
Getting Away with Torture
Getting to Know Them
Getting the World into Poems
Getting Away with It
Getting Nearer and Nearer


Let’s Start with the Facts

It Was Algernon
It Was Xenophanes
It Was Wond’ring
It Was Morse
It Was Sweeney
It Wasn’t Freud
It Was September
It Wasn’t Knopf
It Wasn’t Them
It Wasn’t Peter Salem
It Was Vincenzio
It Was Yang Mo
It Was Luke
It Was the Roof
It Wasn’t 1984
It Was 1869
It Was Agamemnon
It Was Aircraft
It Was Anna’s Diary
It Was the Early Fifties
It Wasn’t Leo
It Wasn’t Just Morale

About Men and Women

The Man in the Closet
A Man of Words
The Man Who Did Not Kill Hitler
The Anti-Feminist Woman
The Man Who Came in from the Cold
The Man Who Told Secrets
Visible Woman
The Man Who Became an Indian
The Man the Democrats Need
A Man for the Hour
The Stout Woman
Wonder Woman
The Man Who Wasn’t There
Woman in Dark Times
The Man Who Stayed the Course
The Man Who Plotted Against Hitler
Working Woman
The Man Who Should Be King
The Woman Who Broke Away
The Ideal Woman
The Woman Who Rode Away
The Man Who Wasn’t There
Fallen Woman
The ‘Other Woman’
The Man with Qualities
Woman of the Year
The Man in the Otter Collar
A Man Half Full
The Wise Woman
The Man Who Invented Natural History
A Finished Woman
The Man Who Would Be King
The Wise Woman and the Whale
The Man Who Was King
The Man Who Was Right
The Man Who Would Be Good
The Man Who Set the Clock Back
Harlem’s Mystery Woman
The Woman Who Did
The Man with the Golden Smile
The Man in the Smoking Jacket
The Man Who Said No
The Man Who Came to Dinner
The Man Who Changed History
Woman in the Middle
The Man Who Rowed Away
The Miracle Woman
The In-Between Woman
The Man Behind the Torture
The Woman in White
Transcendental Woman
The Man Who Wrote Everything
A Woman Running from the News
The Man Who Is Upsetting Iran
A Man of Principle
A Man of the Amazon
The Man Who Shaped History
A New Kind of Woman
The Man Who Got It Right

Let Us Paint You a Portrait

Portrait of the Artist as a Middle-Aged Adulterer
Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man (Cont.)
Portrait of a Genius as a Young Man
Portrait of the Scientist as a Young Man
Portrait of the Critic as a Young Man
Portrait of the Artist as a Self-Made Man
Portrait of the Biologist as a Young Man
Portrait of the Artist as a Paradox
Portrait of the Monster as a Young Artist
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


Who’s in Charge?
Who’s in Charge Here?
Who Shall Overcome?
Who Can Police the Police?
Who’s Eccentric?
Who’s Running This Show?
Who Are the Democrats?
Who Cares for Columbia?
Who Killed Biafra?
Who Killed Lumumba?
Who Started the Cold War?
Who Is Thieu?
Who Crushed Nixon’s Revolution?
Who Began the Killing?
Who Makes the Movies?
Who Shot Aunt Sally?
Who Can Salvage Peace?
Who Said No?
Who’s Progressive?
Who Crushed Fatah?
Who Murdered Lady Ashbrooke?
Who Held the Grand Mosque Hostage?
Who Am I Anyway?
Who Needs Enemies?
Who Wrote Thomas Wolfe’s Last Novels?
Who Lost Iran?
Who Brought Home the Bacon?
Who Should Go to Prison?
Who Cares?
Who Can Tell Right from Wrong?
Who Are the Sandinistas?
Who Killed Carlo Tresca?
Who Are These Coming to the Sacrifice?
Who Killed George Polk?
Who’s Afraid for Virginia Woolf?
Who Saved Jews?
Who Killed Soviet Communism?
Who Was Edmund Burke?
Who Can Police the World?
Who Is to Blame?
Who Should Go to College?
Who Won the Cold War?
Who Was Thomas Jones?
Who’s Afraid of the Avant-Garde?
Who’s Sticking to the Union?
Who Was Hadrian?
Who Lost Russia?
Who Should Get In?
Who Killed Bogomil Trumilcik?
Who Rules Iran?
Who Was Jesus?
Who Came First?
Who Killed Christopher Marlowe?
Who Was Milton Friedman?
Who Is Gordon Brown?
Who Will Praise the Lord?
Who Are ‘The French’?
Who Is Sarkozy?
Who Is John McCain?
Who Embroidered the Bayeux Tapestry?
Who Will Digitize the World’s Books?
Who Killed Anna Politkovskaya?
Who Should Own the World’s Antiquities?
Who Was Deceiving Whom?
Who Should Own Antiquities?
Who Was the Most Famous of All?
Who’s in Big Brother’s Database?
Who Do You Think You Are?
Who Are the Blue Dogs?
Who Is Barack Obama?
Who Was Charles Dickens?
Who’s Afraid of a Filibuster?
Who Is Happy and When?
Who’s Afraid of the Palestinians?
Who Did Not Collaborate?
Who Died From Flu?
Who Made It New?
Who Was Steve Jobs?
Who Is Peter Pan?
Who Took This Photograph?
Who Was Mao Zedong?
Who Killed Pamela in Peking?

And How?

How Much Can Man Change?
How Did it Happen?
How Much?
How Did the Cold War Begin?
How Do You Know It’s Any Good?
How’s your Gestalt?
How Just Was Ramsey Clark?
How Aggressive is China?
How Nasty Was Thomas Cromwell?
How Smart Are Computers?
How Useful Is IQ?
How Doomed Are We?
How Did the Germans Do It?
How Did Art Collecting Begin?
How D’you Do?
How High the Hand?
How Psychosomatic Is Your Illness?
How Long Can They Last?
How Guilty Were the French?
How Strong Are the Saudis?
How Far Down?
How Venetian Is Venetian Painting?
How Is India Doing?
How Should a Gent Behave?
How Tough Is the Red Army?
How Bad Are the Courts?
How Guilty Were the Germans?
How Poor Are the Poor?
How Free Is the Soviet Press?
How Noble Was Robert E. Lee?
How Jewish Was Freud?
How Independent is the Court?
How Wise Was Montaigne?
How Wrong Was Churchill?
How Mexican Is It?
How Far from Canaan?
How Many People Can the Earth Support?
How New Is the New Economy?
How Sick Is Modern Medicine?
How Flemish Is It?
How Are Women Doing?
How Smelly Was the Palladian Villa?
How Close to Catastrophe?
How Terrible Is It?
How Close to Catastrophe?
How Willing Were They?
How Long Will They Stay?
How Historic a Victory?
How Conservative Are Some Democrats?
How Great Was Churchill?
How Strong Are the British Fascists?
How Political Was Picasso?
How Can the Economy Recover?
How Do We Know What We Know?
How Good Are China’s Schools?
How Much ‘Progress’ Have We Made?
How Good Was James Jones?
How Close to Lincoln?

What Happened?

What Happened in the Sixties?
What Happened in Hudson County?
What Happened in Indonesia?
What Happened in Iran?
What Happened to Michelle in Forest Hills?
What Happened at the Macondo Well?
What Happened in May 1968?
What Happened at Gordita Beach?
What Happened to Wystan Auden?
What Happened to the American Empire?
What Happened at Oak Ridge
What Happened to Welfare?
What Happened to 'Brown'?
What Happened at Vienna
What Happened to the Revolution?
What Happened to the Hippopotamus's Wife?
What Ever Happened to the 'War on Drugs'?
Whatever Happened to Whitewater?
Whatever Happened to Andre Gide?
Whatever Happened to Socialism?
Those Dickens Kids: What Happened?

This is How They Are

They’d Rather Be Left
They Don’t Make Them Like That Any More
They Win Every Time
They’ll Take Manhattan
They Didn’t Use Animals
There They Go Again
They Never Met
They’ll Take Their Stand
They Were in New York
They’re Micromanaging Your Every Move
They’d Much Rather Be Rich
They’d Rather Be Right
They Chose Freedom
They Soared Above the Din
They Didn’t Regulate Enough and Still Don’t
They Did Authorize Torture, But…
They Fled from Our War
They Clamor for Our Attention
They’re the Top
They Ate Their Sleep
They Who Would Be Immortal!
They Shined Together
The Way They Live Now
They Know Much More Than You Think

We’re More Like This

We’re OK, Jack
We Are All Murderers
We Won’t Go
We Shall Overcome
We Try Harder
We Unhappy Few
We Are All Romans Now
We’re Living on Corn!
We Are More English Than We Know
We’re More Unequal Than You Think
We’re So Exceptional
We’re Still Puzzled


Goodbye to Britain
Goodbye, Hitler
Goodbye Charlie
Goodbye, Columbus
Goodbye to a United Europe?
Goodbye to Affirmative Action?
Goodbye to Bonn
Goodbye to the Bison
Goodbye to Yugoslavia?
Goodbye to Berlin
Goodbye, William!
Goodbye to Newspapers?
Goodbye to the ‘Age of Jackson’?
Goodbye to All That
Goodbye to All That
Goodbye to All That
Goodbye to All That
Goodbye to All That
Goodbye to All That
Goodbye to All That
Goodbye to All That
Goodbye to All That
Goodbye to All That
Goodbye to All That
Goodbye to Nearly All That
Goodbye to All That?

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