One of art's purest challenges is to translate a human being into words. The New Yorker magazine has met this challenge more often and more successfully--and more originally and more surprisingly--than any other modern American journal.
Starting with its light fantastic evocations of the glamorous and the idiosyncratic in the twenties and continuing to the present, with complex pictures of such contemporaries as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Richard Pryor, The New Yorker's Profiles have presented readers with a vast and brilliant portrait gallery of our day and age. These literary-journalistic investigations into character and accomplishment, motive and madness, beauty and ugliness, are unrivaled in their range, variety of style, and embrace of humanity.
To help mark the occasion of The New Yorker's seventy-fifth anniversary, Life Stories puts into one volume, for the first time, some of the most outstanding examples of this exemplary tradition. Here you will find Wolcott Gibbs on Henry Luce, Lillian Ross on Ernest Hemingway, and Susan Orlean on show dog Biff Truesdale. And in some of the exhibit's many other rooms you will find startling likenesses of Marlon Brando by Truman Capote, magician Ricky Jay by Mark Singer, pitcher Steve Blass by Roger Angell, and Anatole Broyard by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
When they were first published in the magazine, these essential biographies brought insight, amusement, understanding, and, often, joy or sorrow to those who read them. Gathered together here, in Life Stories, they provide us with an album of our era, a rich and diverse appraisal of some of the most prominent members of an entire century's cast.