Thursday, September 29, 2016

Esquire 43 Years Ago

Esquire’s 40th anniversary edition, all 542 pages of it (yes, 542 pages), 43 years old come Saturday. What strikes me now, as opposed to the callow 22-year-old reader back then, is 1) at least 12 of the 39 writers on the cover were by then or were to become alcoholics, an occupational hazard back in the day, 2) James Baldwin is the only writer of color (there’s a Ralph Ellison piece on jazz inside), and race is pretty much ignored, 3) no Norman Mailer, who wrote more for Esquire than any other magazine, including his classic 1960 essay about JFK, “Superman Comes to the Supermart.” (Not surprisingly, Mailer was feuding with the magazine and appears to have been punished in absentia, a loss), 4) Nora Ephron and Dorothy Parker are the only woman writers represented (Sybille Bedford, Helen Lawrenson and Sally Kempton also have pieces in the issue). Granted that Esquire billed itself “The Magazine for Men,” it still published Martha Gelhorn, Elaine Dundy, Simone de Beauvoir and many other women. That said, here’s a sampling of the issue: Fitzgerald, “My Generation”; Hemingway, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”; Talese, “New York”; Parker, “New York at 6:30 P.M.”; Baldwin, “Fifth Avenue, Uptown”; Rovere, “The Last Days of Joe McCarthy”; Wolfe (Tom); “The Last American Hero is Junior Johnson. Yes!”; Wolfe (Thomas), “The Hollow Men”; Vidal, “Tarzan Revisited”; Ephron, “A Few Words About Breasts”; Shaw, “The Eighty-Yard Run”; Bradbury, “The Illustrated Man”; Capote, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”


Post a Comment

<< Home