Utilizing a connection with the managing editor's son to get his foot in the door, young Perkins soon landed a job as a reporter with the New York Times.
Click to share on Pocket Opens in new window No American editor of the last half century has been profiled and talked about more regularly and energetically than Gordon Lish.
Both views of Lish have their basis in fact. But neither of them quite captures who Lish is in his own eyes.
One curiously occluded truth about Gordon Lish is just this: I did a lot of traveling, before my wife got ill, and I saw the whole university scene. I never liked what I saw. It matters to me more than my life does. And here was someone coming into my synagogue, as it were, and desecrating the whole place.
This is typical of the way Lish has talked and written about himself.
Thirty years before that interview with Winters, Lish explained his ambitions as a writer and editor in an unpublished letter to his friend Norman Mailer. Knowing he was talking to a landsman, he dispensed with the ecumenical terminology and went straight for Yiddish: It persisted in some of his strangest and most indelible books, like Peru and Extravaganza And its prominence continues unchecked, in his most recent collection, White Plainswhich bristles with Yinglishisms.
But it did matter: By his own account, Lish founded it as a way to meet more interesting friends, but it holds up remarkably well, with sharp design and arch editorial squibs that anticipate the early efforts of Dave Eggers. Elliott, Herbert Gold, and Leslie Fiedler.
Instead, it was the most committedly, thickly Jewish writer in postwar America, Cynthia Ozick. The story won first place in the O. Lish was willing to lose his job over Ozick because they had become friends and because she had won prestigious literary prizes for him.
But it was also because she could speak for him as a Jew, with more knowledge and fervor than he could muster. In a Esquire memo, he argued in favor of publishing an essay of hers: He had dabbled in fiction writing in the s and early s but published next to nothing.
What is the reason you put this masterly gift to the service of others? Why are you an editor?
When I interviewed him this spring, Lish cheerfully explained to me that he had always been conscious of being Jewish in a field—prestigious literary periodicals—where the people running the show were George Plimpton and Reed Whittemore, Ivy League WASPs.
No question about it. But many of his favorite writers drew on Yiddish speech patterns to develop fascinating, complex first-person prose styles—Leonard Michaels, Stanley Elkin, Harold Brodkey, and of course Paley—and they became central in the repertoire of models he shared with students in writing workshops over the ensuing decades.
Some of his students internalized not just his lessons about prose and how to teach it, but also the alternative canon of Jewish writing in America that he promoted. Sam Lipsyte, a beloved teacher and sometimes director of the MFA program at Columbia, explains that reading these writers was a big part of what he received from Lish:During the early part of the 20th century, editor Maxwell Perkins (Colin Firth), left works with another Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law), a literary partnership shown from all angles in .
Jun 10, · “Genius” is the story of book man Perkins, friend and collaborator to the likes of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who play significant roles here, and the way Perkins took on and tamed the fiery poetic work of North-Carolina-born visionary (or blowhard, depending on which literary critic you consult) Thomas Wolfe.3/5.
Colin Firth and Jude Law in “Genius,” Michael Grandage’s film about the Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his turbulent relationship with the novelist Thomas Wolfe. Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Maxwell Perkins Essay - Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Maxwell Perkins Although not a writer himself, Maxwell Evarts Perkins holds an auspicious place in the history of American literature.
Thomas Clayton Wolfe (October 3, – September 15, ) was an American novelist of the early twentieth century.. Wolfe wrote four lengthy novels as well as many short stories, dramatic works, and novellas. He is known for mixing highly original, poetic, rhapsodic, and impressionistic prose with autobiographical writing.
Welcome to my 'Such Friends' store! W B Yeats wrote, 'say my glory was I had such friends.' And Scribner's editor Max Perkins had 'such friends' in Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Wolfe.