Cover image for Near-death experiences ... and others / Robert Gottlieb.
Title:
Near-death experiences ... and others / Robert Gottlieb.
ISBN:
9780374219918
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018.
Physical Description:
vi, 350 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Abstract:
This new collection from the legendary editor Robert Gottlieb features twenty or so pieces he’s written mostly for The New York Review of Books, ranging from reconsiderations of American writers such as Dorothy Parker, Thornton Wilder, Thomas Wolfe (“genius”), and James Jones, to Leonard Bernstein, Lorenz Hart, Lady Diana Cooper (“the most beautiful girl in the world”), the actor-assassin John Wilkes Booth, the scandalous movie star Mary Astor, and not-yet president Donald Trump.The writings compiled here are as various as they are provocative: an extended probe into the world of post-death experiences; a sharp look at the biopics of transcendent figures such as Shakespeare, Molière, and Austen; a soap opera-ish movie account of an alleged affair between Chanel and Stravinsky; and a copious sampling of the dance reviews he’s been writing for The New York Observer for close to twenty years. A worthy successor to his expansive 2011 collection, Lives and Letters, and his admired 2016 memoir, Avid Reader, Near-Death Experiences displays the same insight and intellectual curiosity that have made Gottlieb, in the words of The New York Times’s Dwight Garner, “the most acclaimed editor of the second half of the twentieth century.”
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1 Bob Harkins Branch 791.09730904 GOT Book Adult General Collection
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Summary

Summary

A new collection of immersive essays from the most acclaimed editor of the second half of the twentieth century

This new collection from the legendary editor Robert Gottlieb features twenty or so pieces he's written mostly for The New York Review of Books , ranging from reconsiderations of American writers such as Dorothy Parker, Thornton Wilder, Thomas Wolfe ("genius"), and James Jones, to Leonard Bernstein, Lorenz Hart, Lady Diana Cooper ("the most beautiful girl in the world"), the actor-assassin John Wilkes Booth, the scandalous movie star Mary Astor, and not-yet president Donald Trump.

The writings compiled here are as various as they are provocative: an extended probe into the world of post-death experiences; a sharp look at the biopics of transcendent figures such as Shakespeare, Molière, and Austen; a soap opera-ish movie account of an alleged affair between Chanel and Stravinsky; and a copious sampling of the dance reviews he's been writing for The New York Observer for close to twenty years. A worthy successor to his expansive 2011 collection, Lives and Letters , and his admired 2016 memoir, Avid Reader , Near-Death Experiences displays the same insight and intellectual curiosity that have made Gottlieb, in the words of The New York Times 's Dwight Garner, "the most acclaimed editor of the second half of the twentieth century."


Author Notes

Robert Gottlieb has been the editor in chief of Simon and Schuster; the president, publisher, and editor in chief of Alfred A. Knopf; and the editor of The New Yorker . As a writer, he contributes frequently to The New York Review of Books and is the author of Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens , George Balanchine: The Ballet Maker , Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhardt , and Avid Reader: A Life. In 2015, Gottlieb was presented the Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this sterling essay collection, Gottlieb (Avid Reader), an influential editor and critic, wields words skillfully and insightfully, with razor-sharp wit and precision. He is erudite but never stuffy, and is a master of the well-placed and hilarious side comment (on criticisms that James Joyce's Ulysses wouldn't be understood by its own "mass man" protagonist, Leopold Bloom, he comments, "By this standard, we would condemn Lassie Come-Home because Lassie couldn't appreciate it"). Composed mostly of critical essays for the New York Review of Books, plus a selection of dance reviews for the Observer, the collection puts notable names from a number of different artistic fields front and center, including movie star Mary Astor, author Wilkie Collins, singer Ethel Merman, choreographer Twyla Tharp, and conductor Arturo Toscanini. (The title essay is one exception, exploring books about "going to heaven" experiences, and how science might explain the near-death phenomenon; a newly relevant look at the Trump family, originally written in 2000, is another.) Gottlieb's standards are exacting, but he gives praise where due. He's particularly passionate about the state of dance, and makes the reader share his enthusiasm. Perhaps Gottlieb's greatest achievement is that he inspires one to want to learn more about his subjects; his restless curiosity becomes the reader's. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Near-Death Experiencesp. 3
Lives
A Trio of Go-Getter Trumpsp. 25
"The Most Beautiful Girl in the World": Diana Cooperp. 31
Showing Off: John Wilkes Booth and His Brother Edwinp. 47
The Lyricist: Lorenz Hartp. 60
The Belter: Ethel Mermanp. 77
Letters
The Wit: Dorothy Parkerp. 84
The Genius: Thomas Wolfep. 97
The Sensationalist: Wilkie Collinsp. 111
A Russian Classic Revisitedp. 124
Just for the Fun of It: Fifty Books of the Twentieth Centuryp. 127
In the Mood for Love: Romance Novels Todayp. 132
The Book of Books: American Musicalsp. 141
The Writer: Sebastian Barryp. 146
Anatomy of a Publisher: The Story of Farrar, Straus and Girouxp. 157
Music
The Maestro: Arturo Toscaninip. 171
Lenny! Leonard Bernsteinp. 182
At the Top of Pop: Clive Davisp. 195
Sizing Up Sinatrap. 207
Dance
American Ballerina: Maria Tallchiefp. 213
Russian Ballerina: Maya Plisetskayap. 218
The Coach: Elena Tchernichovap. 223
Dancing in the Dark: Flesh and Bonep. 234
A Star on Pointe: Black Swanp. 240
Movies
Brilliant, Touching, Tough: Mary Astorp. 243
Liquid Asset: Esther Williamsp. 254
Tame Jane: Jane Eyre in the Moviesp. 259
Monstres Sacrés in Love: Stravinsky and Chanelp. 263
An Actress Like No Other: Setsuko Harap. 267
Observing Dance
The Magic of Ashtonp. 273
The Triumph of the Trocksp. 277
Twyla Tharp Takes Over Broadwayp. 279
Robert Altman at the Balletp. 283
The Disgrace of New York City Balletp. 286
Farrell and Don Qp. 289
Cunningham's Boundless Oceanp. 294
The Bolshoi Wows Its Fansp. 296
The French on a Vivaldi Spreep. 301
Peter Martins's Efficient Swan Lakep. 305
A New Sleeping Beauty, a Great Aurorap. 308
Romeo +Juliet Stripped Cleanp. 312
Can Martha Graham Be Kept Alive?p. 314
Bourne's Male Swans Are Back at the Lakep. 318
A New Nutcracker Hits BAMp. 320
The Glory of the Young Paul Taylorp. 324
Thirty Years of Peter Martinsp. 326
One Big Bugp. 329
Paul Taylor's Diamond Jubileep. 330
The Mariinsky-a Giant Question Markp. 332
Alice in Lovep. 335
The Red Army Assaults Lincoln Centerp. 339
Michelle Dorrance: Tapping for Joyp. 341
City Ballet: Act IIIp. 343
Acknowledgmentsp. 349

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