F. Scott Fitzgerald, It Seems, Never Met Lewis Lapham

Gary Shapiro in The New York Sun:

Lewislapha_count_4864096_400F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that there are no second acts in American lives, but he never met Lewis Lapham.

In September, the silver-haired septuagenarian former editor of Harper’s Magazine is set to launch Lapham’s Quarterly, a journal of history.

With a patrician demeanor and cigarette often in hand, Mr. Lapham has for decades punctured pomposity with wry observations on American society. An editor at Verso, Tom Penn, described his crystalline prose as “rapierlike.”

In a glass-enclosed office on Irving Place, Mr. Lapham sits in a gray scarf and immaculately tailored suit, leaning over a desk, writing in longhand on a legal-size notepad — no computer.

His journal will examine current topics from numerous historical perspectives. With a sheaf of historical texts alongside reflection by contemporary essayists, each issue will, according the Web site Laphamsquarterly.com, open “the doors of history behind the events in the news” and be a bulwark against “the general state of amnesia.” In the office lay paperback copies of Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey.”

This is fitting, as the first issue is about war.

More here.