The latest issue of The Paris Review is available. It’s cover has a dead man on it, but I’m sure the quality of its content is as lively as ever. (“Lively as ever” — is that cliche-ish or just poor writing?) You may remember that the magazine’s founding editor, George Plimpton, passed on in 2003. The current chief editor, Brigid Hughes, will leave her post at the end of March. The president of the Paris Review board of directors gave no reason for dismissing her, and she said she didn’t know she failed to meet any expectations.
But although [Board President] Guinzburg said the magazine’s finances were “solid,” he added that the informal managerial style under which the Paris Review long operated no longer works. For a start, the Review is seeking to move out of Plimpton’s home, a townhouse on the Upper Side East.
“We’re desperately trying to get out of that pit,” Guinzburg said. “It’s so overcrowded, because you have the staff and a bunch of interns and there’s no room. When we move I’m sure we’ll find wonderful things under all that rubble.”
Guinzburg said it was time to “act a bit more like grown-ups” and indicated the foundation was considering some business practices that “would horrify George,” although he declined to offer details.
That sounds like the setting for P.D. James’ Original Sin. Speaking of James, she was interviewed by the magazine in 1995. The full interview is scheduled be released in June, but James has this to say in the excerpt:
I thought of those splendid women who were the first to graduate from [Somerville College, Oxford] and whose portraits are hung on the walls, and I thought life could not have been easy for them. If they came back today, they would be horrified to see what kind of society we live in. I believe that political correctness can be a form of linguistic fascism, and it sends shivers down the spine of my generation who went to war against fascism. The only way to react is to get up in the morning and start the day by saying four or five vastly politically incorrect things before breakfast!
I see that Tingle Alley, if not others, suggests that the technical glitches in the magazine’s DNA of Literature section of their website may be related to Hughes departure. That would be terribly trivial for the magazine staff, wouldn’t it? Besides the site design and archives have been paid for by an NEA grant. I hope trivial actions like what was suggested are not the source of Guinzberg’s call for the staff to act more like grown-ups.
Update: Earlier I missed this Tingle Alley post in which she reports on emailing The Paris Review and learning that they didn’t know anything had messed up. Not only that, I think I misunderstood her post completely, so they greyed text above can be ignored. Pay it no mind. Treat it as if it were a man behind a curtain. Sort of.