The Bustling Days and Rum-and-Coke Nights of Barney Rosset

By John Marchese 7 Days September 6, 1989 Barney Rosset is being kissed. He leans forward toward her lips, which are delicately painted. His old hands clasp her young hands—right in left, left in right. She is small and slender. So is he. Later, after she smiles...

The Man Behind the Curtain

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader His reputation as the guru of magazine writing preceded him so it came as a surprise that Jay Lovinger not only lived a couple of blocks from me in Riverdale but that he was indistinguishable from the other guys lolling around Johnson...

Smart Tartt

By James Kaplan Vanity Fair September 1992 Donna Tartt, who is going to be very famous very soon—conceivably the moment you read this—also happens to be exceedingly small. Teeny, even. “I’m the exact same size as Lolita,” she says. “Do you remember that poem from the...

Patricia Wells: An American Food Critic in Paris

By Helen Dudar The Wall Street Journal October 4, 1988 Paris So here we are, a couple of American women lunching at the restaurant of Guy Savoy, two stars in the Michelin, four toques in the fervidly celebratory Guide Gault-Millau. Naturally, in keeping with local...

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...