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Encyclopedia > A.J. Liebling

A.J. Liebling (October 18, 1904 - December 28, 1963) was an American journalist who was closely associated with The New Yorker from 1935 until his death. He was one of the best-known, most entertaining, and most widely admired journalists of his generation in the United States. October 18 is the 291st day of the year (292nd in Leap years). ... 1904 is a leap year starting on a Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... December 28 is the 362nd day of the year (363rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 3 days remaining. ... 1963 was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... A journalist is a person who practices journalism, the gathering and dissemination of information about current events, trends, issues and people. ... The New Yorkers first cover, which is reprinted most years on the magazines anniversary. ...


Liebling was born Abbott Joseph Liebling into a well-off family in Manhattan's Upper East Side, where his father worked in New York's fur industry. His mother was from San Francisco. After early schooling in New York, Liebling was admitted to Dartmouth College in the fall of 1920. He left Dartmouth without graduating, later claiming he was "thrown out for missing compulsory chapel attendance". He then enrolled in the School of Journalism at Columbia University. After finishing there, he began his career as a journalist at the Evening Bulletin of Providence, Rhode Island. He worked briefly in the sports department of the New York Times, fired for listing the name "Ignoto" (Italian for "unknown") as the referee in results of games. Manhattan Borough,highlighted in yellow, lies between the East River and the Hudson River. ... This page is a candidate for speedy deletion. ... Dartmouth College is a small private university in Hanover, New Hampshire, and a member of the Ivy League. ... The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism is one of the most prestigious schools of journalism in the United States. ... Columbia University is a private university in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. ... City nickname: Beehive of Industry Location Location in Rhode Island Government Country State County United States   Rhode Island Mayor David N. Cicilline (Dem) Physical characteristics Area      Land      Water 20. ... The New York Times is an internationally known daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed in the United States and many other nations worldwide. ...


In 1926, Liebling's father asked if he would like to suspend his career as a journalist to study in Paris for a year.

I sensed my father's generous intention, Liebling replied, and, fearing that he might change his mind, I told him that I didn't feel I should go, since I was indeed thinking of getting married. "The girl is ten years older than I am," I said, "and Mother might think she is kind of fast, because she is being kept by a cotton broker from Memphis, Tennessee, who only comes North once in a while. But you are a man of the world, and you understand that a woman can't always help herself...." Within the week, I had a letter of credit on the Irving Trust for two thousand dollars, and a reservation on the old Caronia for late in the summer, when the off-season rates would be in effect. [Source: The New Yorker, March 29, 2004, p. 54.]

Thus in summer 1926, Liebling sailed to Europe where he studied French medieval literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. Although he stayed for little more than a year, this interval inspired a life-long love for France and the French, later renewed in his war reporting. He returned to Providence in autumn 1927 to write for the Journal. He then moved to New York, where he proceeded to campaign for a job on Joseph Pulitzer's New York World, which carried the work of James M. Cain and Walter Lippmann and was known at the time as 'the writer's paper.' In order to attract the attention of the city editor, James W. Barrett, Liebling hired an out-of-work Norwegian seaman to walk for three days outside the Pulitzer Building, on Park Row, wearing sandwich boards that read Hire Joe Liebling. [Source: The New Yorker, March 29, 2004, p. 54.] He wrote for the World (1930-31) and the World-Telegram (1931-1935). He married Mary Anne Quinn in 1934 despite knowledge of her schizophrenia; she was often hospitalized during their marriage. Europe forms the westernmost part of Eurasia. ... The Sorbonne, Paris, in a 17th century engraving The Sorbonne today, from the same point of view The Sorbonne is frequently used in ordinary parlance as synonymous with the faculty of theology of Paris or the University of Paris in its entirety. ... The Eiffel Tower has become a symbol of Paris throughout the world. ... Joseph Pulitzer Joseph Pulitzer (April 10, 1847 – October 29, 1911), was a Hungarian-born American journalist. ... James Mallahan Cain (July 1, 1892 – October 27, 1977) was an American journalist and crime writer. ... Walter Lippmann - Wikipedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ...


Liebling joined The New Yorker in 1935. His best pieces from the late thirties are collected in Back Where I Came From (1938) and The Telephone Booth Indian (1942).


During World War II, Liebling was active as a war correspondent, filing many stories from Africa, England, and France. His war began when he flew to Europe in October 1939 to cover its early battles, lived in Paris until June 10, 1940, and then returned to the United States until July 1941, when he flew to Britain. He sailed to Algeria in November 1942 to cover the fighting on the Tunisian front (January to May 1943). His articles from these days are collected in The Road Back to Paris (1944). He participated in the Normandy landings on D Day, and he wrote a memorable piece concerning his experiences on a landing craft. He afterwards spent two months in Normandy and Brittany, and was with the Allied forces when they entered Paris. He wrote afterwards: "For the first time in my life and probably the last, I have lived for a week in a great city where everybody was happy." Liebling was awarded the Cross of the L├ęgion d'honneur by the French government for his war reporting. World War II was a truly global conflict with many facets: immense human suffering, fierce indoctrinations, and the use of new, extremely devastating weapons such as the atom bomb. ... // Etymology World map showing Africa (geographically) The name Africa came into Western use through the Romans, who used the name Africa terra — land of the Afri (plural, or Afer singular) — for the northern part of the continent, as the province of Africa with its capital Carthage, corresponding to modern-day... Royal motto (French): Dieu et mon droit (Translated: God and my right) Englands location within the UK Official language English de facto Capital London de facto Largest city London Area - Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population - Total (mid-2004) - Density Ranked 1st UK 50. ... Mont Saint Michel is a historic pilgrimage site and a symbol of Normandy Normandy is a geographical region in northern France. ... Battle plans for the Normandy Invasion — the most famous D-Day. ... When spelt with a capital A, Allies usually denotes the countries that fought together against the Central Powers in World War I and against the Axis Powers in World War II. For more information, see the related articles: Allies of World War I and Allies of World War II. Other... The Eiffel Tower has become a symbol of Paris throughout the world. ... Knights badge of the Legion of Honour The Légion dhonneur (Legion of Honor (AmE) or Legion of Honour (ComE)) is an Order of Chivalry first established by Napoléon Bonaparte, First Consul of the French Republic, on May 19, 1802. ...


Following the war he returned to regular magazine fare and for many years after he wrote a New Yorker monthly feature called "Wayward Press", in which he analyzed the US press. Liebling was also an avid fan of boxing, horse racing and food, and frequently wrote about these subjects. In 1947 he published The Wayward Pressman, a collection of his writings from The New Yorker and other publications. During the late forties, he vigorously criticized the House Un-American Activities Committee, became friends with Alger Hiss, divorced his first wife, and married Lucille Spectorsky in 1949. (He was later to divorce again, and marry author Jean Stafford in 1959.) This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Horse-racing is an equestrian sporting activity which has been practiced over the centuries; the chariot races of Roman times were an early example, as was the contest of the steeds of the god Odin and the giant Hrungnir in Norse mythology. ... HUAC hearings The House Committee on Un-American Activities or HUAC (or, rarely, HCUA) (1945-1975) was an investigating committee of the United States House of Representatives. ... Alger Hiss Alger Hiss (November 11, 1904 – November 15, 1996) was a U.S. State Department official and Secretary General to the founding charter conference of the United Nations. ... Jean Stafford (July 1, 1915-March 26, 1979) was an award-winning American short story writer and novelist, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her Collected Short Stories in 1970. ...


In 1961, Liebling published The Earl of Louisiana, originally published as a series of articles in The New Yorker in which he covered the trials and tribulations of the governor of Louisiana, Earl K. Long, the younger brother of the Louisiana politician Huey Long. State nickname: Pelican State Other U.S. States Capital Baton Rouge Largest city New Orleans Governor Kathleen Blanco (D) Senators Mary Landrieu (D) David Vitter (R) Official language(s) None; English and French de facto Area 134,382 km² (31st)  - Land 112,927 km²  - Water 21,455 km² (16%) Population... Earl Kemp Long (August 26, 1895 – September 5, 1960) was an American politician and three-time Governor of Louisiana. ... Huey Pierce Long (August 30, 1893 – September 10, 1935), known as The Kingfish, was an American politician of the Democratic Party; he was governor of Louisiana (1928–1932), Senator (1932–1935) and a presidential hopeful before his assassination. ...


Liebling died on December 28, 1963, and was buried in the Green River Cemetery, East Hampton, New York. His papers are archived at Cornell University. East Hampton is a town located in Suffolk County, New York. ... Cornell University is a leading research university based in Ithaca, New York. ...


A little Liebling

Liebling is remembered for many quotes and aphorisms, such as:

  • "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."
  • "People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news."
  • "I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better."

His writing was often memorable, as was his eating, and he nicely combined the two passions in Between Meals (1962), of which the following extract gives a taste:

In the restaurant on the Rue Saint-Augustin, M. Mirande [Parisian actor and gourmand Yves Mirande] would dazzle his juniors, French and American, by dispatching a lunch of raw Bayonne ham and fresh figs, a hot sausage in crust, spindles of filleted pike in a rich rose sauce Nantua, a leg of lamb larded with anchovies, artichokes on a pedestal of foie gras, and four or five kinds of cheese, with a good bottle of Bordeaux and one of champagne, after which he would call for the Armagnac and remind Madame to have ready for dinner the larks and ortolans she had promised him, with a few langoustes and a turbot -- and, of course, a fine civet made from the marcassin, or young wild boar, that the lover of the leading lady in his current production had sent up from his estate in the Sologne. "And while I think of it," I once heard him say, "we haven't had any woodcock for days, or truffles baked in the ashes, and the cellar is becoming a disgrace -- no more '34s and hardly any '37s. Last week, I had to offer my publisher a bottle that was far too good for him, simply because there was nothing between the insulting and the superlative."

Selected works

  • Back Where I Came From - 1938
  • The Telephone Booth Indian - 1942
  • The Road Back to Paris - 1944
  • The Wayward Pressman - 1947
  • Mink and Red Herring: The Wayward Pressman's Casebook - 1949
  • Chicago: The Second City - 1952
  • The Honest Rainmaker: The Life and Times of Colonel John R. Stingo - 1953
  • The Sweet Science - 1956
  • Normandy Revisited - 1958
  • The Press - 1961
  • The Earl of Louisiana - 1961
  • Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris - 1962
  • Mollie and Other War Pieces - 1964 (posthumous)

A collection of his writing was published in 2004 as Just Enough Liebling (ISBN 0374104436). 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
A.J. Liebling
  • "A.J. Liebling's Delectable Political Jambalaya", by Jonathan Yardley, 20 January, 2004, The Washington Post
  • The Church of Liebling: The uncritical worshippers of America's best press critic
  • "Not quite enough A.J. Liebling" by Allen Barra, Salon.com, Sept. 23, 2004

 
 

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