[Picture is of James Thurber]
By Maria Popova
"The kind of literary voyeurism that concerns itself with why great writers write and how, exactly, they go about ithas long held especial mesmerism to aspiring authors and voracious readers alike.
"In 1953, a trio of literary enthusiasts founded The Paris Review. Spearheaded by George Plimpton, who edited the magazine from its founding to his death in 2003, it forever changed the face of literary journalism with its singular brand of incredibly in-depth, borderline existential conversations with beloved authors on the art and craft of writing. Five years later, they published the finest of those interviews — featuring such literary luminaries as William Faulkner, Dorothy Parker, and James Thurber — in Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, First Series (public library). Though The Paris Review has since released all of the archival interviews online, as well as in an irresistible boxed set, what makes this particular volume noteworthy is the lengthy introductory essay by the great Malcolm Cowley, who edited the anthology."