Founded in 1925 by Harold Ross and his wife Jane Grant, The New Yorker is published 47 times annually, with five of those issues covering two-week spans. While the magazine has its weaknesses (a lack of women writers is one the magazine still needs to deal with), it is difficult to find any American magazine that rivals the constant flow of reportage, fiction, and even humor pieces that The New Yorker produces in every issue.
“By the standards of The New Yorker I was being brought in off the street. I had a book contract; I was writing for Rolling Stone and The Boston Globe, so that’s hilarious. That’s so classic of The New Yorker to feel that if you weren’t at The New Yorker you were essentially homeless and living hand-to-mouth on crap,” Susan Orlean tells Elon Green in “The Letter,” his fascinating piece at The Awl, which recounts the drama that went down when Si Newhouse “imposed” Alfred A. Knopf editor Robert Gottlieb to lead the venerable magazine. The incident resulted in a letter signed by a who’s who of American writers, from J.D. Salinger to Deborah Eisenberg, asking Gottlieb not to take the job. Orlean’s response and the letter’s famous signees are just two ways to explain the magazine’s importance, influence, and the weird culture that is The New Yorker itself, but just in case that isn’t enough, here are ten more examples.
55 Short Stories from the New Yorker
It’s sort of scary to think that the magazine has been putting out great fiction all this time, but this anthology (which has gone in and out of print a few times in the decades since it was first published) that features work from the likes of J.D. Salinger, Vladimir Nabokov, John Cheever, A. J. Liebling, and many others is downright intimidating.