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Christopher Hitchens

“I have tried for much of my life to write as if I was composing my sentences to be read posthumously,” Christopher Hitchens wrote in his 2003 book A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq. “I hope this isn’t too melodramatic or self-centered a way of saying that I attempt to write as if I did not care what reviewers said, what peers thought, or what prevailing opinion might be.” Hitchens, the Washington…

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Lewis H. Lapham

Lewis H. Lapham is editor emeritus at Harper’s Magazine. He served as editor from 1976 to 1981 and again from 1983 to 2006. His first Easy Chair columns were published in the early 1970s, and he wrote them with greater frequency in 1976. After first leaving the editorship, he took a break from the column, but picked up it again in 1984, retitling it Notebook and publishing it on a monthly basis until 2010. In…

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Walter Lippmann

Walter Lippmann met Harper’s Magazine contributor Theodore Roosevelt at the age of nine and became an “unqualified hero worshiper.” Lippmann, who was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes, cofounded The New Republic in 1914, helped write Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points speech, contributed to John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, and popularized the term “cold war.” As an undergraduate student, Lippmann founded the Socialist Club at Harvard University and met with the philosopher William James weekly for tea. Lippmann’s…

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Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer had long been courted by Harper’s Magazine editor Willie Morris to write for the publication, but “Mailer was anathema to the group that was then running Harper’s,” Morris recalled. “They were scared to death of him. I think they expected some kind of naked Bolshevik.” “The Steps of the Pentagon” (March 1968) was Mailer’s first article for Harper’s; his editor at the time, Midge Decter, said that “Norman went to the demonstrations [at…

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Herman Melville

Herman Melville gave his young children back issues of Harper’s Magazine for Christmas. His first story for Harper’s appeared in the year-old periodical’s October 1851 issue––titled “The Town-Ho’s Story,” it constitutes the fifty-fourth chapter of Moby-Dick, which was published a month later to critical revilement and commercial disinterest. In the years immediately following the publication of Moby-Dick and the similarly received Pierre: or, The Ambiguities (1852), Melville supplied Harper’s with several more stories, three of…

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Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay attempted to subscribe to Harper’s Young People, the Harper brothers’ fourth and least successful magazine, in 1902, when she was nearly ten years old, but it had shuttered in 1899. Following her parents’ divorce, she moved in 1904 with her mother and two sisters to Camden, Maine, where she remembered having “twenty-five red books full of knowledge” and all of life’s luxuries, but sometimes few of the necessities. She learned Latin…

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