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 than any other modern American journal. Starting with its light fantastic evocations of the glamorous and the idiosyncratic in the '20s and continuing to the present, with complex pictures of such contemporaries as Marlon Brando 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.
When they were first published, these biographies brought insight, amusement, understanding, and often, joy or sorrow to those who read them. Gathered here, in Life Stories, they provide an album of our era, a rich and diverse appraisal of some of the most prominent members of an entire century's cast.
A Pryor Love (Richard Pryor), by Hilton Als
A Duke in His Domain (Marlon Brando), by Truman Capote
Isadora (Isadora Duncan), by Janet Flanner
Lady with a Pencil (Katharine White), by Nancy Franklin
Nobody Better, Better Than Nobody (Heloise), by Ian Frazier
The Coolhunt (Baysie Wightman and DeeDee Gordon), by Michael Gladwell
Wunderkind (Floyd Patterson), by A.J. Liebling
Mr. Hunter's Grave (George H. Hunter), by Joseph Mitchell
Show Dog (Biff Truesdale), by Susan Orlean
How Do You Like it Now, Gentlemen? (Ernest Hemingway), by Lillian Ross
The Man Who Walks on Air (Philippe Petit), by Calvin Tomkins
Covering the Cops (Edna Buchanan), by Calvin Trillin
"Too good to be missed." (
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