The Paris Review Daily

From the Archive

New York, Not Too Long Ago

November 29, 2012 | by

I hadn’t seen Jake since years ago, when we had met at the Guggenheim before going away to college. I remember only one scene from the encounter: spinning around the museum’s spiraling staircase with our arms spread like wings. When we reached the ground floor, we ran out as fast as we could before anyone could have a word with us about our behavior. I don’t recall talking about France, because I don’t think we really did. I remember just twirling with abandon. He had been the only one to understand my kind of crazy. I wouldn’t see him again for five years.

Our second meeting was in Manhattan at the Odeon restaurant. Jake looked the same as he had in France, though a little taller, a little more handsome, but the same sandy hair and flashing eyes. Except more than ten years of maturity had lent him the calm that had eluded us both back then. He seemed at ease with himself and happy with his work in filmmaking. I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t appreciated his attention as much as I should have when we were young, which meant I’d grown up as well. Instead of fixating romantically on Raees, I should have accepted and cultivated my friendship with Jake—that’s really all it was. Raees was no longer tall and he was an art dealer, having left behind dreams of working in cinema.

“If you’d have asked me then what you’d end up, I thought you’d be a hippie, a free spirit poet,” Jake said as he picked apart a piece of bread. “You were like a flower child obsessed with butterflies1—you had this really funny handwriting and drew insects on everything. You had a very beautiful spirit. You were strange, but it didn’t really bother me. I thought it was endearing. You weren’t like the other girls, and they definitely didn’t like you.” He laughed. “Sorry. You know what I mean. It seems as though you’re doing well now.”

“Thank you.”

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Annotations

  1. Just as Egyptian tombs and medieval catacombs were ravaged for treasure, butterflies are also victims of contemporary black market smugglers like Hisayoshi Kojima, the Japanese-born king of a vast multimillion-dollar ring of insect poachers. They were two Queen Alexandra’s Bird-wing butterflies ordered by an undercover agent that led to Kojima’s eventual capture. The species is the largest in the world, with a yellow body and mint-and-black-colored wings sometimes reaching almost a foot in width.

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The Making of Plimpton!

June 21, 2012 | by

Luke Poling and Tom Bean have been hard at work at their documentary Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself. The film makes its world premiere tonight, at the AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival in Washington, D.C. We asked Tom and Luke to share their favorite photographs of our founding editor as well as their own memories of creating the documentary.

The Parties

This photo perfectly captures the vibe of the infamous parties at George’s apartment. Hanging out in this one room are George’s fellow Paris Review cofounders Peter Matthiessen and Doc Humes, longtime friends William Styron and Terry Southern, and an impressive list of writers and filmmakers, including Ralph Ellison, Gore Vidal, Sydney Lumet, Mario Puzo, and, in the center of it all, Truman Capote.

Every time we went by the apartment to update Sarah Plimpton on our progress, we couldn’t help but look up from the sofa and chairs we were sitting on and think, The people this room has seen …

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Happy Birthday R. Crumb

August 30, 2010 | by

In honor of R. Crumb's birthday today, here are a few of my favorite outtakes from his interview, the first Art of Comics, which appears in our summer issue, still on newsstands. Interviewer Ted Widmer asks Crumb how he feels about publishing hardcover books:

INTERVIEWER

You’ve taken what was a medium of thirty pages of flimsy, low quality paper with a paper cover and now you’ve conquered the hardcover book format.

CRUMB

Reluctantly. I love the old, cheap comic book format so much because the format itself is a statement. It keeps you from becoming too pretentious. I like that about it. Keep it cheap and low-grade, the format, keep it cheap and accessible and then you’re not required to be overly artistic or have overly deep, profound meaning or whatever, you know, all that stuff that can make you very self-conscious. I got reluctantly dragged into hardcover books.

INTERVIEWER

But I think your fans are happy that those hardcover books exist because you would have to be a maniacal collector to get all of your stuff otherwise. It’s basically impossible to find back issues of The East Village Other, but for hardly any money you can buy The R. Crumb Handbook and see your greatest hits.

CRUMB

Yeah, that’s true. And also, the whole context of cheaply produced comic books is gone, basically. All those newsstands, that kind of distribution is gone.

In June we posted a slideshow of Crumb self-portraits. My favorite is the one where he's squinching up his nose to keep his glasses on his face.

I love Crumb's answer to Widmer about his next projects:

INTERVIEWER

Do you see a sequence of more literary stories coming out? You’ve done some Samuel Johnson, Philip K. Dick.

CRUMB

The classics illustrated. I did a sequence from Nausea by Sartre a couple of years ago. I did a couple of other things like that. I have lots of ideas about stuff like that but there’s always so much work in it, it’s so time consuming. I’m getting old, you know.

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Friendships from The Paris Review

August 27, 2010 | by

Here's a short and lovely video for a Friday afternoon. Rose Styron, the wife of the late William Styron, recalls the earlier days of The Paris Review, and the parties that the Styrons used to throw. “We had the John Marquands,” she says, “The Peter Matthiessens, the Tom Guinzburgs, and George Plimpton. We were all a gang, and had a wonderful time.” What a vibrant literary life! And what friendships! Her memories remind me of the touching speech Philip Roth gave at our Revel this year to accept the Hadada Award. Roth describes his first visit to New York to meet Plimpton, and how he made friends with the magazine's young editors and writers. The result? “This time I sent my story not to The Paris Review slush pile, from which I’d been plucked first time around by none other than Rose Styron, but right to the top.”

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Congratulations to Damon Galgut

July 28, 2010 | by

The Paris Review wishes to congratulate our contributor Damon Galgut, whose novel In a Strange Room has been nominated for the MAN Booker Prize. Click here to read the excerpt that ran in the Winter 2008 issue of The Paris Review.

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Before There Was Twilight, There Was Dusk

July 7, 2010 | by

Dusk Add James Salter's Dusk to the list of genius reissues coming out this year. Modern Library has put out a handsome new edition of the story collection, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award when it first appeared in 1988. (If songs from 1988 can be called oldies, then a book from the same year definitely qualifies as a classic reissue.) Dusk had been out of print for many years, so the new edition is a godsend for those of us who don't have the original issues of Esquire, Grand Street, and, ahem, The Paris Review lying around. Four of the stories in Dusk first appeared in our pages, and to celebrate the return of a great book, we've put the full text of "Am Strande von Tanger," the lead-off story in the collection, online here. That story is forty-two years old, and it's still not showing any signs of age.

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