In the fall of 1959, Harper’s Magazine published a special supplement on the state of writing and the American literary scene. The supplement was greeted with a broadside of commendation and a fusillade of cavil, and has since become recognized as the most useful brief survey of the contemporary state of the American writing arts and of their fellow travelers, the spoken word, the typescript word, the filmed and televised word, and the publishing memorandum.
In this newly reissued volume in the Rutgers University Press Classics Imprint, Writing in America proves to be as stimulating as it was in 1960. Here, writers including Robert Brustein, Stanley Kunitz, and C.P. Snow examine the state of writing in American novels, films, and television candidly and critically. The result is a collection of essays that showcase a first-rate and highly entertaining piece of reporting on the American literary scene that resonate in 2017.
About the Author
JOHN FISCHER (1910-1978) was a lifelong writer and editor. His work appeared in Life, The New Yorker, Readers Digest, among other publications, and he was a reporter for both AP and UPI. He served as editor-in-chief of Harper’s Magazine from 1953 to 1967, and as contributing editor thereafter. Another Harper’s editor, Lewis Lapham memorialized him: “He made the magazine an instrument of rigorous social inquiry, publishing much of the best and most constructive political thought of his era.”
ROBERT B. SILVERS (1929 - 2017) was an editorial board member for Harper’s Magazine and co-founder and editor of The New York Review of Books from 1963 to 2017, co-editing it with Barbara Epstein for 43 years until her death in 2006. He received many awards and accolades, including the National Book Foundation’s Literarian Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Award for “Distinguished Service to the Arts,” the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement in Publishing and a National Humanities Medal. Among other honors, he was a Chevalier of the French Légion d’honneur and a member of the French Ordre National du Mérite. He was awarded the 2012 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama.
"You could say the inspiration for The [New York] Review of Books went back even further, to 1959 and Elizabeth Hardwick’s “The Decline of Book Reviewing” in Harper’s. That essay is crucial."
— Robert Silvers
"A true classic offering timeless yet timely commentaries and insights into the art and craft of writing." — Midwest Book Review