Working For The New Yorker: Putting The Historicity Back In The French Dispatch with Nora Shaalan & Dan Sinykin

Apple Podcasts


Resonate Recordings

Wes Anderson’s acclaimed new movie, The French Dispatch, draws inspiration from the Golden Age of The New Yorker magazine, a period from roughly the early 1940s to the mid-1970s.

This episode of The American Vandal Podcast features two scholars researching that period in the publication’s history.

They are uniquely situated to consider the selections from the magazine’s back catalog which make Anderson’s cut, as well as what he chooses to leave out.

Nora Shaalan is a PhD Candidate in English & Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She recently published “The Ghosts of Patriarchy,” on Edith Wharton’s ghost stories, in Los Angeles Review of Books. She has also written for The Oxonian Review and assisted on The Riddle Project at McGill University. [Twitter: @norshaalan]

Dan Sinykin is Assistant Professor of English at Emory University. He is author of American Literature & The Long Downturn: Neoliberal Apocalypse (Oxford, 2020). His current work focuses on the conglomerate era in U.S. Post45 publishing. Selections from this project can be found in American Literary History, Contemporary Literature, Public Books, and Post45. In 2021, he co-edited a special issue of American Literary History on “Publishing American Literature, 1945-2020.” [Twitter: @dan_sinykin]

This season also includes special theme music, “Work Song” by Dan Reeder, courtesy of the artist and Oh Boy Records. Please check out Dan Reeder’s extraordinary catalog of music on Apple & Spotify. [Twitter: @DanReeder]

“The World’s Work” is hosted by Matt Seybold, who is executive producer of The American Vandal Podcast and resident scholar at the Center For Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College. [Twitter: @MEASeybold]

Episode Bibliography:

Wes Anderson & Terry Gross, “Creating A Singular ‘Kingdom’” (Fresh Air, 5.29.2012)

Hannah Arendt, “Eichmann in Jerusalem” (The New Yorker, 2.16-23.1963)

James Baldwin, “Equal In Paris” (Commentary, March 1955)

James Baldwin, “Letter From A Region in My Mind” (The New Yorker, 11.9.1962)

Kelly Burdick, “The Dark Visions of Alberto Vitale” (Melville House, 7.3.2012)

Rachel Carson, “Silent Spring” (The New Yorker, 6.16-30.1962)

Roald Dahl, Fantastic Mr. Fox (Knopf, 1970)

Junot Diaz, “Drown” (The New Yorker, 1.21.1996)

Adam Gopnik, “Forward,” The Years with Ross [by James Thurber] (HarperPerennial, 2001)

Claire Grossman, Julianna Spahr, & Stephanie Young, “Literature’s Vexed Democratization” (American Literary History, Summer 2021)

Claire Grossman, Julianna Spahr, & Stephanie Young, “Who Gets To Be A Writer?” (Public Books, 4.15.2021)

John Hershey, “Hiroshima” (The New Yorker, 8.31.1946)

Lee Konstantinou & Dan Sinykin, “Literature & Publishing, 1945-2020” (American Literary History, Summer 2021)

Anna Kornbluh, Realizing Capital: Financial & Psychic Economics in Victorian Form (Fordham UP, 2014)

Cormac McCarthy, The Road (Knopf, 2006)

Annie McClanahan, Dead Pledges: Debt, Crisis, & 21st-Century Culture (Stanford UP, 2016)

Laura B. McGrath, “America’s Next Top Novel” (Post45: Contemporaries, 4.8.2020)

Laura B. McGrath, “Literary Agency” (American Literary History, Summer 2021)

Daniel Menaker, “The Committee: On The New Yorker (n+1, Winter 2015)

Daniel Menaker, My Mistake: A Memoir (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013)

Joseph Mitchell, “Professor Sea Gull” (The New Yorker, 12.12.1942)

Joseph Mitchell, “Joe Gould’s Secret” (The New Yorker, 9.19-26.1964)

Joseph Mitchell, Joe Gould’s Secret (Viking, 1965)

Barcley Owens, Cormac McCarthy’s Western Novels (U. Arizona P., 2000)

Jessica Pressman, Bookishness: Loving Books In A Digital Age (Columbia UP, 2020)

David Remnick, “Wes Anderson & Jeffrey Wright on ‘The French Dispatch'” (New Yorker Radio Hour, 9.17.2021)

J. D. Salinger, “A Perfect Day For Bananafish” (The New Yorker, 1.31.1948)

J. D. Salinger, “Franny” (The New Yorker, 1.29.1955)

J. D. Salinger, “Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters” (The New Yorker, 11.19.1955)

J. D. Salinger, “Zooey” (The New Yorker, 5.4.1957)

André Schiffrin, The Business of Books: How The International Conglomerates Took Over Publishing & Changed The Way We Read (Verso, 2001)

André Schiffrin, Words & Money (Verso, 2010)

A. O. Scott, “Remember Magazines?” (New York Times, 10.20.2021)

Dan Sinykin, American Literature & The Long Downturn: Neoliberal Apocalypse (Oxford UP, 2020)

Dan Sinykin, “The Conglomerate Era: Publishing, Authorship, & Literary Form, 1965-2007” (Contemporary Literature, Winter 2017)

Dan Sinykin, “Evening In America: Blood Meridian & the Origins & Ends of Imperial Capitalism” (American Literary History, Summer 2016)

Dan Sinykin, “How Capitalism Changed American Literature” (Public Books, 7.17.2019)

Dan Sinykin & Edwin Roland, “Against Conglomeration: Nonprofit Publishing & American Literature After 1980” (Post45, 4.21.21)

Dan Sinykin, Richard Jean So, & Jessica Young, “Economics, Race, & The Postwar US Novel: A Quantitative Literary History” (American Literary History, Winter 2019)

Richard Jean So, Redlining Culture: A Data History of Racial Inequality in Postwar Fiction (Columbia UP, 2020)

Richard Jean So & Guz Wezerek, “Just How White Is The Book Industry?” (New York Times, 12.11.2020)

Deborah Treisman, “Questions for Deborah Treisman” (New Yorker, 12.12.2008)

Donald Trump with Tony Schwartz, The Art of The Deal (Random House, 1987)