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New World Writing

The records of the literary magazine New World Writing (1952-1959) are available for research (YCAL MSS 388).

New World Writing was a literary magazine published by New American Library between 1952 and 1959, and edited by Arabel J. Porter et al. Modeled in part on Penguin New Writing, published in England from 1940-1950 and edited by John Lehmann, the magazine was intended to bring "an important and representative cross section of current literature and criticism" (Issue #1) to a widespread audience. New World Writing was published in fifteen biannual issues and featured works of fiction, drama, essays, and poetry by new and leading writers from around the world. Contributors included Gore Vidal, Flannery O’Connor, Jack Kerouac, W. H. Auden, James Baldwin, Samuel Beckett, Saul Bellow, Jorge Luis Borges, Bertolt Brecht, E. E. Cummings, Jean Genet, André Gide, Christopher Isherwood, Norman Mailer, Pablo Picasso, Kenneth Rexroth, William Carlos Williams, Upton Sinclair, Wallace Stevens, Eugène Ionesco, Octavio Paz and Tennessee Williams.

The New World Writing Records (YCAL MSS 388) collection documents all aspects of the production and promotion of the magazine  from its first issue in 1952 to its last issue in 1959. Correspondence, including letters by and about various authors whose work was published in the magazine, and manuscripts, including corrected typescripts of published works, shed light on the selection and editorial process. Highlights include the corrected typescript of "Catch-18" by Joseph Heller, originally published in issue #7, which became the first chapter of Catch-22. Files of the executive editor, Arabel J. Porter, and the promotion department variously document the work involved in producing and publicizing individual issues, while files of comments, reviews, and clippings document how the magazine was received. Also found are files relating to some of the more general business of the magazine. (JM)

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