In 1963 Barbara Epstein and Robert Silvers launched The New York Review of Books, a magazine created from the conviction that a book review could be more than a collection of tidy reports: it should be a way to consider the world through what is written about it. “The hope of the editors,” they wrote in an editorial published in the first issue, “is to suggest, however imperfectly, some of the qualities which a responsible literary journal should have and to discover whether there is, in America, not only the need for such a review but the demand for one.”
“Here we are in the hectic whirl of putting out the new book review,” wrote Robert Lowell in a letter to Elizabeth Bishop three months in advance of our second issue. After sixty years, we go on as before. Our 1,259th issue features Pankaj Mishra, Lucy Sante, Fintan O’Toole, Deborah Eisenberg, Timothy Garton Ash, Meghan O’Gieblyn, Simon Callow, Namwali Serpell, Anne Carson, Jed Perl, Marilynne Robinson, Catherine Nicholson, Sue Halpern, Stacy Schiff, Michael Gorra, Susan Faludi, Martin Filler, Howard W. French, Alma Guillermoprieto, Mark Danner, Ingrid D. Rowland, Hermione Lee, and Martha Nussbaum writing on subjects including Shakespeare and Elsa Morante, Blaise Cendrars and Harald Voetmann, Villa Farnesina and 15 Central Park West, Iowa and China, Picasso and Mozart, whales and the brain.
“In a thousand years no one will know who wrote what or why or if at all,” wrote Gore Vidal, ventriloquizing Goethe’s dogged interlocutor Johann Eckermann, in our twenty-fifth anniversary issue. “So let’s keep those questions moving right along.” We hope you’ll move along with us.