A denial from NYRB Classics

My escape into the lost worlds of Norman Podhoretz’s Making It has a comic coda. I make something of the fact that Making It was mugged by the New York Review of Books upon its publication in 1967, but that it is now published as a NYRB Classic “under the auspices of the New York Review of Books, no less[.]”

NYRB Classics editor Edwin Frank takes issue with me in a comment appended to my piece at City Journal. He writes: “Making It is a remarkable book–it has a great deal of character and it is of undeniable historical significance–and I’m pleased to publish it in the NYRB Classics series. It should be clear, however, that the NYRB publishing program does not in any sense exist ‘under the auspices’ of the New York Review of Books. The publishing program is editorially entirely separate from the paper, and none of the editors of the Review had anything to do with the decision to publish Podhoretz’s book.”

As noted above, I say at the top of my piece that the NYRB Classics series is published “under the auspices” of the New York Review of Books. I assert in my conclusion that Making It is now “certified as a classic 50 years later by New York Review Books—and its publisher, the New York Review of B­oo­ks, no less[.]” These are the statements with which Edwin Frank quibbles.

Here I would like to cite as my authority the copyright page of the NYRB Classics edition of Making It. I don’t dispute the question of editorial independence or suggest that Robert Silvers changed his mind about the book before his death on Monday. However, the NYRB Classics edition of the book states in caps: “THIS IS A NEW YORK REVIEW BOOK PUBLISHED BY THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS.” Is published “under the auspices of” meaningfully different from “published by”? Not in any way that lends substance to Mr. Frank’s point or that detracts from the point that I sought to make.

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