Life Stories

Profiles from The New Yorker

Publisher: Modern Library
One of art's purest challenges is to translate a human being into words. The New Yorker has met this challenge more successfully and more originally than any other modern American journal. It has indelibly shaped the genre known as the Profile. Starting with light-fantastic evocations of glamorous and idiosyncratic figures of the twenties and thirties, such as Henry Luce and Isadora Duncan, and continuing to the present, with complex pictures of such contemporaries as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Richard Pryor, this collection of New Yorker Profiles presents readers with a portrait gallery of some of the most prominent figures of the twentieth century. These Profiles are literary-journalistic investigations into character and accomplishment, motive and madness, beauty and ugliness, and are unrivalled in their range, their variety of style, and their embrace of humanity.

Including these twenty-eight profiles:

“Mr. Hunter’s Grave” by Joseph Mitchell
“Secrets of the Magus” by Mark Singer
“Isadora” by Janet Flanner
“The Soloist” by Joan Acocella
“Time . . . Fortune . . . Life . . . Luce” by Walcott Gibbs
“Nobody Better, Better Than Nobody” by Ian Frazier
“The Mountains of Pi” by Richard Preston
“Covering the Cops” by Calvin Trillin
“Travels in Georgia” by John McPhee
“The Man Who Walks on Air” by Calvin Tomkins
“A House on Gramercy Park” by Geoffrey Hellman
“How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen?” by Lillian Ross
“The Education of a Prince” by Alva Johnston
“White Like Me” by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
“Wunderkind” by A. J. Liebling
“Fifteen Years of The Salto Mortale” by Kenneth Tynan
“The Duke in His Domain” by Truman Capote
“A Pryor Love” by Hilton Als
“Gone for Good” by Roger Angell
“Lady with a Pencil” by Nancy Franklin
“Dealing with Roseanne” by John Lahr
“The Coolhunt” by Malcolm Gladwell
“Man Goes to See a Doctor” by Adam Gopnik
“Show Dog” by Susan Orlean
“Forty-One False Starts” by Janet Malcolm
“The Redemption” by Nicholas Lemann
“Gore Without a Script” by Nicholas Lemann
“Delta Nights” by Bill Buford

READ AN EXCERPT

It used to be said around the New Yorker offices that our founding editor, Harold Ross, invented the Profile. But if a Profile is a biographical piece-a concise rendering of a life through anecdote, incident, interview, and description (or some ineffable combination thereon-well, then, it's a little presumptuous to stick...
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PRAISE FOR

"Eloquent witness to the magazine's remarkable content over the years.... It was the Profile a New Yorker staffer coined the term that the magazine really revolutionized. It's intoxicating to have these pieces all in one place."
--Newsday

"An anthology that makes] you remember why the magazine has long had a reputation for literary excellence."
--Chicago Tribune

"Splendidly entertaining."
--Houston Chronicle