Toni Morrison: Finally Just a Writer

By Helen Dudar The Wall Street Journal September 30, 1987 A few summers ago, Toni Morrison looked out at the Hudson River from the little pier of her house in Rockland County and discovered that she was feeling dizzy. She had, at the urging of her editor at Knopf,...

The Making of “Fat City”

By Leonard Shecter Look October 19, 1971 The scene called for Billy Tully, played by Stacey Keach, to be thinning and weeding young tomatoes under a broiling sun. It’s sweaty, backbreaking working that must, because of the delicacy required, be done with a short,...

The Lady in the Dark

By Phillip Lopate New York Woman November 1989 Pauline Kael has just turned seventy. An important birthday; her house in the Berkshires is filled with flowers from well-wishers. “I don’t want you to get the wrong idea that there are always this many flowers around,”...

Monumental Trivialist

By Seymour Krim Harper’s February 1981 It’s sad to say it, but Frank MacShane’s new biography of John O’Hara (The Life of John O’Hara) is a hell of a lot more interesting for us today, and makes a better novel, than practically all the fourteen novels O’Hara ever...

The Attentive Eye

By Peter Goldman Introduction to The Attentive Eve May 2002 New York City For our forty-two years together, I have been assuring Helen Dudar that she ought to do a book. For forty-two years, she has assured me that she should not. My argument, reduced to its essence,...

Revenge of the Quiet Man

By Pete Dexter Playboy September 1985 Nobody knows exactly when the quiet man turned the corner—they don’t call him the quiet man for nothing—but somewhere along the line, Doug Campbell, a ten-year reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer, came to a point in his life...

The Stacks Chat: Lynn Darling

By Alex Belth Esquire Classic August 2016 Lynn Darling was a bright and lively presence at Esquire from the mid-’80s through the late-‘90s. She wrote smart, observant celebrity profiles of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Brokaw, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Linda Fiorentino....

Hi-Diddely-Dee—The Writer’s Life for Me!

By Joe Flaherty The New York Times March 13, 1977 In an interview after winning the Nobel Prize, Saul Bellow contended that most people don’t pay any mind to writers, and his assessment struck me as correct. This fact was bulldozed home to me in 1969 when, as a...

The Stacks Chat: Robert Benton

By Alex Belth Esquire Classic August 2016 Robert Benton is best known as a screenwriter (Bonnie and Clyde, What’s Up Doc?,and Superman), and director (The Late Show, Kramer vs. Kramer, and Nobody’s Fool), but before he lost it at the movies, Benton was the art...

A Forgotten Pioneer of The New Journalism

By Alex Belth Esquire Classic October 2016 Fame is fleeting in all pop culture—movies, music, writing, sports: today’s stars, tomorrow’s Where Are They Now’s. This feels especially true in journalism. Who but a small group of nonfiction-loving nerds pays attention to...

Pillar of the Post

By Diane K. Shah The National Observer May 20, 1976 I came from this incredibly high-powered family. My mother was sort of a Viking. Very bright, and utterly contemptuous of everyone else. When I told her I had read The Three Musketeers, she said, “undoubtedly a waste...

A Fistful of Dollars

By Gail Sheehy Rolling Stone July 14, 1977 November 20th, 1976, a Saturday night, Clay Felker, the New York magazine publisher, invited Rupert Murdoch, the Australian publisher, to dine at Elaine’s to celebrate the announcement that had hit New York by surprise the...