Fifty Years of Headlines from The New York Review of Books

The New York Review of Books is celebrating 50 years of existence. Writing on the blog, Matthew Howard put together a fantastic collection of titles that have appeared in the magazine over the years:

Throughout its first fifty years, The New York Review of Books has asked many questions: What is Art? How Did it Happen? Where Do We Go From Here?Yonder Shakespeare, Who Is He? Tennis Anyone? How Dead is Arnold Schoenberg? Aimez-Vous Rousseau? Is There a Marxist in the House? How Smelly Was the Palladian Villa? Do Fish Have Nostrils?

It has also addressed many other more serious questions: The Suez QuestionThe Heidegger QuestionSenator Proxmire’s QuestionsQuestions About Kafka. Sometimes it broached The Unanswered Question, or even Answers Without Questions. But some questions the Review answered forthrightly: Was it Xenophanes? It Was. The Roof? It Was. Knopf? No. Freud? It Wasn’t. And it has tackled many mysteries: LeonardoSchizophreniaThe Libidinous Molecule.Dutch PaintingInnocenceConsciousnessThe Panda.

If God is in the details, the Review has examined many of them: God’s Country,Milton’s GodThe Great God WishGod in the ComputerGod in the Hands of Angry Sinners. The devil has also been given his due: his Disciple, his Brew, looking him in the FaceThe Devil and LolitaThe Devil and the FleshSex and the Devil.

Speaking of sex, the Review has not been shy about it: Sex in the HeadSex and FashionSex & CzechsSex and the Church, not to mention Sex and Democracy in TaiwanThe Victorian Sex WarsThe Same-Sex FutureThose Sexy Puritans.

 In some cases the Review has given stern, if useful, advice: Don’t Sing Your Crap.Don’t Say “Boo” to a GooseDon’t Tread on UsDon’t Forget KeynesDon’t Mind If I DoTell, Don’t ShowDon’t Take Our Raphael!

Exclamations! They started in 1963 with Oy! Then Oy, Oy! came the reply, inaugurating an exuberant tradition that, five decades later, numbers well over two hundred examples. Pshaw! Gulp! Excelsior! Ach! (Those were all in the first few years.) Coleridge Lives! Nixon Wins! Kids, Pull Up Your Socks! Screwed! Get a Lawyer! Ah, Wilderness! Yuk! How Unpleasant to Meet Mr. Baudelaire! That’s Earl, Folks! O Albany! The Pizza Is Burning! It’s For Your Own Good!

There have been more than a few firsts (The First LaughFirst LoveThe First BookFirst Trip to China) and quite a lot of lasts: The Last WordWhig,IntellectualHippieRomantic, and HarpoonThe Last Word on EvilThe Last Days of Nietzsche (also of NaturePinochetthe PoetsNew York, and Hong Kong). Endings have been a particular theme: The End of the AffairEnd of the LineEnd of its Tether—but also, more hopefully, The Beginning of the End,Oddly Brilliant Beginnings, and Where the Fun Starts. 

Games have been played: The Lying GameConfidence GamesCat-and-Mouse GamesThe Waiting Game in the BalkansWar Games in the Senate. And many Strange and Curious Cases have been described, from that of Pushkin and Nabokov through Jefferson’s Subpoenathe Spotted Mice, and the Loony Lexicographer.

 Review headlines have been rich in superlatives: The Best of TimesThe Worst of TimesThe Best Turnips on the CreekHow to Be Your Own Worst EnemyThe Best of Both WorldsThe Worst Place on EarthThe Best Faces of the EnlightenmentThe Worst of the TerrorThe Best He Could Do.

There have been repeat titles (for instance, Hello to All That appeared as the title at least on four occasions). Lots to dig through the expanded list here.

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