Thursday, May 4, 2017

New Yorker N-Grams

The Google Books Ngram Viewer allows for the quantitative display of specific names and phrases that have appeared in print and been scanned by Google Books in publications from prior to 2008. Now that Bob Mankoff has retired as cartoon editor at the New Yorker and Emma Allen has taken over, let's take a look at some n-grams reflecting the magazine's rich history, starting with those people like Mr. Mankoff and Ms. Allen who headed up the cartoon department.
The New Yorker's Art Editors and Cartoon Editors
Rea Irvin, who dominates this n-gram, came of age in the golden era of print. His overall book citations outweigh the later art editors. Note that James Geraghty and Françoise Mouly were never published artists and therefore may have fewer appearances in print than the others. Indeed, Mr. Geraghty published little if anything under his own name. (Emma Allen came on the scene too recently to appear in the n-gram, which only goes up to 2008.)

Next, let's look at the magazine's editors:
The New Yorker's Editors
Harold Ross, 1925-1951
William Shawn, 1952-1987
Robert Gottlieb, 1987-1992
Tina Brown, 1992-1998
David Remnick, 1998-

Founding editor Harold Ross's appearances in print were numerous and continued well after his death in 1951. Note that his successor William Shawn was the most publicity-averse of the magazine's editors.

 Up next are seven major cartoonists:
Seven Major Cartoonists:  Charles Addams, Peter Arno, Rea Irvin, Otto Soglow, William Steig, Saul Steinberg, and Gluyas Williams
Saul Steinberg's impressive numbers may reflect his acceptance by the fine arts community. (It seems doubtful that his results have been skewed by the financier Saul Steinberg.)

And what if we were to add one more major cartoonist?
Adding James Thurber as an eighth major cartoonist transforms the scale of the graph, apparently because of his outsized literary output.

On the other hand, there are no problems of scale when James Thurber is compared with his one-time New Yorker office-mate E. B. White. In 1929, the two co-authored Is Sex Necessary? (If you don't know the answer, you'll have to read the book.)
Coauthors of Is Sex Necessary?, 1929
Cartoonist and humorist James Thurber and essayist E. B. White are lock-step in their trajectories.

Now let's have some fun with this tool:
Five New Yorker Writers Named John

Father and son:
Editor William Shawn and his son, writer and actor Wallace Shawn

A married couple:
Husband and wife cartoonists Alan Dunn and Mary Petty peak in different decades.

Film critic Pauline Kael and staff writer Renata Adler, who famously criticized Kael in the New York Review of Books:
Film critic Pauline Kael and Pauline Kael critic Renata Adler

Authors who wrote about "The Last Days of The New Yorker."
The Pessimists
Gigi Mahon, author of The Last Days of The New Yorker1988
Renata Adler, author of Gone:  The Last Days of The New Yorker1999

Authors who brought alarming threats to public attention:
The Alarmists
John Hersey, author of Hiroshima, 1946
Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, 1962
Jonathan Schell, author of The Fate of the Earth, 1982

Four European favorite artists:
Four Major Postwar European Illustrators

Bob Mankoff's old home and his new home:
Cartoon editor Bob Mankoff's old and new homes in the magazine world

Note:  Go ahead. Make your own Google Ngrams here. Why should I have all the fun?

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Harold Ross

Rea Irvin

James Geraghty

Lee Lorenz

Bob Mankoff

Emma Allen

The New Yorker


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