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Biblio File

The Face of Intellectual Beauty: The New York Review of Books at 48


First published on February 1st, 1963, The New York Review of Books has been hailed to be one of the world's leading intellectual literary magazines. Known for its sharp and critical insights, commentaries and book reviews on culture, literature and current affairs, The NYRB has had much success in gaining attention from and written contributions by eminent scholars, intellectuals and writers such as Margaret Atwood, Noam Chomsky, Harold Bloom, John Updike, Gore Vidal, Joan Didion, and Mary Beard. The magazine was published in response to a printing strike in 1963 when The New York Times had ceased publication temporarily. This was a grand opportunity for The NYRB editors to promote new books and run in depth reviews on them.

The First Issue of The New York Review of BooksThe First Issue of The New York Review of BooksFrom the political shockwaves of the Arab Spring in the Middle East to a book review of Nicholson Baker's sinfully delicious novel: House of Holes, The NYRB publishes an array of intellectually engaging essays that will make you think twice about the prerogatives of the human condition and consciousness. 

Turning 50 this year, The NYRB still gracefully rocks the literary runway with a pair of high intellectual heels; on the political and literary discourses of society and culture, the magazine stands out with cutting edge critiques and thought-provoking analyses.The NYRB at 25The NYRB at 25Here at NYPL, we have the whole collection of The NYRB — from the first issue in microfilm to the latest issue in hardcopy ready to be read and intellectually devoured in the elegant DeWitt Wallace Periodicals Reading Room in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. You can also view the complete series of NYRB online!

We also have many scholarly and literary works reviewed in the periodical as well as other works by the writers and reviewers. If you know the author's, editor's or reviewer's name, you can easily find works by him or her through the Library's catalog under author or title. Once the results come up you can also narrow it down to location on the left hand side; the most extensive literary and historical works as well as the complete run of The NYRB are kept in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The NYRB comes out once every two weeks.  

For other intellectually driven and stimulating magazines/newspapers that review other works, consider the following:

One of my colleagues, Jean Strouse, Director of the Cullman Center at NYPL, best known for her deftly written, award-winning biographies of Alice James and J.P Morgan, describes her entry into literary New York, "My first job out of college was as assistant to Bob Silvers, one of the two editors at The Review (the other being Barbara Epstein). Working there with Bob gave me an extraordinary immersion-education in the world of contemporary literary culture — and in the fine arts of editing and writing."  

On Wednesday April 3rd, 2013, at 7 p.m. in The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building: Celeste Bartos Forum, Conversations From The Cullman Center will host a free public program: Celebrating 50 Years of The New York Review of Books. The Future of Literary Journalism: A Conversation with Ian Buruma, Andrew Delbanco, Alma Guillermoprieto, and Zoë Heller, moderated by Joseph Lelyveld.

Reserve your tickets now! We hope to see you there!


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