George Plimpton loved Bastille Day. He also loved the Fourth of July and Saint Patrick’s Day—any event, really, that occasioned a parade and the shooting off of fireworks. “Ecstasy after ecstasy” and “transfixed with joy” is how his friends have described his appreciation for the colorful explosions. We’d like to think that Bastille Day was special for him: Paris was, of course, where the magazine was born. The storming of the Bastille is a decidedly different venture from initiating a literary magazine, but our founders had revolution in mind.
To celebrate the Republic and the Review, we’re offering our most Parisian issues (judging by their covers, anyway) at a discount. Through midnight tomorrow (July 15), use the code BASTILLEDAY to get 40% off all the issues in this collection. Details below.
From those years on the Left Bank: Issue 32 features an Art of Fiction interview with Jean Cocteau and a reproduction of his twenty-centime Marianne stamp on the cover. Issue 38 is announced by Jack Youngerman’s 1966 painting July White, in the colors of the French flag (the contents aren’t bad either: an Arthur Miller interview and a portfolio of sestinas by Joe Brainard and Kenward Elmslie). A grape-colored Eiffel Tower graces the cover of issue 43, which contains our interview with Jack Kerouac and fiction by John Ashbery, James Schuyler, Donald Barthelme, and others.
Issue 67 found the Review in New York, though Ed Ruscha’s cover still says PARIS, in an orange serif typeface (John Cheever, Maxine Kumin, Stephen Dixon, and Albert Goldbarth are found in these pages). Issue 167 is our fiftieth-anniversary issue and commemorates the occasion with a plenitude of writers (perhaps the most of any issue); on the cover, “a spindly personage (the Review) charging triumphantly into a second half-century,” Plimpton writes. “A salut to both the horse and its rider!”
More recently, issue 200—a milestone for any quarterly—and another horse and rider, this time reinventing the Review’s first issue; and issue 204, our sixtieth-anniversary issue, which not only features a cover by JR wheat-pasted onto a wall in Paris’s 11th arrondissement but also a portfolio of archival material: Tom Keough’s Parisian sketches, vintage Paris Review tattoos, and William Pène du Bois’s gag collages (“My God, it’s Plimpton!”).